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'Lewis and Clark' miniseries with Casey Affleck heads to HBO

Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts will play Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in a new HBO miniseries

Casey Affleck will play Meriwether Lewis and Matthias Schoenaerts will play William Clark in "Lewis and Clark," a new six-hour miniseries greenlighted by HBO on Friday.

The miniseries also boasts an all-star roster of executive producers, including Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, who previously executive-produced "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific." Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Tim Kelly and Adam Leipzig are also executive producers.

The miniseries is based on the book "Undaunted Courage" by historian Stephen Ambrose, who also wrote the book "Band of Brothers."

Lewis and Clark are best known for their epic journey through the lands west of the Mississippi with their Corps of Discovery, encountering many Native American tribes on their path to the Pacific Ocean.

The HBO announcement is careful to point out that the miniseries won't just be a rah-rah celebration of the explorers, but also a look at the physical, emotional and mental toll their journey took on them.

While Affleck may be familiar to HBO viewers, Schoenaerts is much lesser known. Aside from his appearance in the acclaimed French romantic drama "Rust and Bone," he also has a starring role in director Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of "Far From the Madding Crowd," which will be released later this year.

Production on the miniseries will begin this summer. HBO has not announced when it will premiere.

The miniseries will be directed by John Curran from a script by Michelle Ashford, Curran and Norton.

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