Ben Stiller is directing Escape at Dannemora with Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette, and Paul Dano
Ben Stiller will be directing a true crime adaptation of the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility prison escape. The Showtime TV mini-series will be entitled Escape at Dannemora. The entire mini-series will be eight hours long broken into one hour blocks. Announced as the lead cast for Escape at Dannemora today were: Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette, and Paul Dano.
Benicio del Toro will be playing “convicted murderer Richard Matt, an artistic yet intimidating force within the prison, who masterminds the escape…In 2008, Richard Matt received a 25-years-to-life sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility without possibility of parole for the 1997 murder and dismemberment of his boss, William Rickerson. After that killing, Matt fled to Mexico, where he killed a man outside a bar and served nine years in jail before being extradited to the U.S. in 2007. “
Patricia Arquette will be playing “Tilly Mitchell, a working class, married woman who supervises the prison tailor shop and becomes sexually involved with both convicts, inducing her to assist them with their escape.”
Paul Dano will be playing “David Sweat, a convicted cop-killer…[Sweat] was sentenced to life without parole in 2003 for the murder of a sheriff’s deputy.”
Before the escape took place, Sweat used his “good looks to seduce Tilly and [became] a reluctant partner in Richard Matt’s plot” to escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015. The breakout in 2015 captured the nation’s nightly attention as law enforcement personnel searched for Mat and Sweat.
They were at large for 20 days, until Matt was killed in a confrontation after being spotted by law enforcement, 50 miles from Clinton and less than 20 miles south of Canada. Two days later, Sweat was wounded and then apprehended, less than two miles from the Canadian border. Mitchell and Sweat pled guilty to multiple charges related to the prison break. Mitchell received a sentence of 28 months to seven years in prison, serving her sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County, New York, approximately 300 miles from Clinton. Sweat was officially sentenced to an additional 3½ to 7 years.
I remember the manhunt when it happened and all of the peculiar details about the case when Sweat was captured and Mitchell confessed. Howard Stern mentioned the Clinton Correctional Facility escape on his radio show. His breakdown of Mitchell and how Sweat and Matt manipulated her was hilarious. The escape that Matt and Sweat perpetrated was the first escape “in the 170-year history of Clinton Correctional, the state of New York’s third-oldest prison and largest maximum security facility.”
Ben Stiller had this to say about the Escape at Dannemora TV mini-series:
While the genre is a prison escape story, at its core it is a story about real people, some criminals and some not, who make some bad choices that have huge consequences. I think that’s what’s so compelling about this.
Ben Stiller will be executive producing Escape at Dannemora along with Brett Johnson (who wrote Escape at Dannemora), Michael Tolkin, Bryan Zuriff, Nicky Weinstock, and Michael De Luca. “Production will begin later this year at the actual locations [of the escape and manhunt (speculation at his point)] in upstate New York.
No premiere date for Escape at Dannemora has been set by Showtime yet.
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