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Marcia Gay Harden Joins Nat Geo Drama ‘Barkskins’ (Exclusive)

Larsen & Talbert/Courtesy of National Geographic

The Oscar winner will star opposite David Thewlis in the scripted series based on a novel by Annie Proulx.

Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden will travel to the past for her next TV role.

The actress will star in National Geographic Channel’s scripted drama Barkskins, based on the Annie Proulx novel about a group of outcasts living in New France — the part of North America controlled by the French — in the 17th century.

Harden (Code Black, Pollock) will play Mathilde, an innkeeper who knows everyone’s secrets and a burgeoning power player in the town as she learns how to use those secrets to her advantage.

The cast for the long-in-development series also includes David Thewlis (Wonder Woman, Fargo) as Claude Trepagny, a wealthy landowner with grand visions for New France, and Christian Cooke (The Art of More) and James Bloor (Dunkirk) as indentured servants signed to Trepagny.

Elwood Reid (The Chi, The Bridge) adapted Proulx’s novel and executive produces with Scott Rudin, Garrett Basch, Eli Bush and director David Slade. The series hails from Fox 21 TV Studios, which like Nat Geo became part of Disney following the media behemoth’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets.

Harden is coming off CBS’ Code Black, which was canceled in 2018 after three seasons. Her recent credits include the Fifty Shades movie trilogy, a recurring part on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and HBO’s The Newsroom.

Barkskins is part of a Nat Geo scripted slate that also includes anthology series Genius, whose third season will focus on music icon Aretha Franklin, and limited series The Hot Zone, which premieres May 27. The network has also greenlit an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, about the early days of the U.S. space program.