‘Barkskins’ premiere announced: Nat Geo sets spring air date for limited series with David Thewlis and Marcia Gay Harden

The coronavirus pandemic shut down film and TV productions across Hollywood, which resulted in the postponement of National Geographic‘s “Genius: Aretha,” but the cable network has moved up another limited series. “Barkskins” is an eight-part series based on a novel by Annie Proulx (“Brokeback Mountain,” “The Shipping News”) and starring David Thewlis and Marcia Gay Harden. It will premiere on Memorial Day, May 25, and will air two episodes per week over four weeks. So it could take “Aretha’s” place in the Emmy race.

The series tells the story of a mysterious massacre in 17th century Canada, which threatens to throw the region into war. Creator and executive producer Elwood Reid said in a statement, “‘Barkskins’ is a primeval story of survival and the quest to build a civilization out of the endless forest. The settlers who’ve come to seek their fortune in the vast and unforgiving ‘New World’ — the landless poor, street urchins, religious seekers, rapacious traders and the penniless young women hoping to marry into land and wealth — are met with the brutal reality of their dreams as they attempt to carve their place in it. They find themselves in the forest of the world, a dark and uncaring place, long settled by indigenous nations who view their arrival with disdain, and a recognition that an alliance with these disparate newcomers is increasingly necessary for survival.”

Reid previously created the detective series “The Bridge” and also wrote for “Cold Case,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “The Chi.” Harden won an Oscar for playing artist Lee Krasner in “Pollock” and earned Emmy nominations for her guest role on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and her supporting turn in the telefilm “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.” Thewlis is known for playing Remus Lupin in the “Harry Potter” films, and he earned an Emmy nomination for his villainous role in “Fargo.”

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