Oscar winner Susan Sarandon may be taking on the lead role in the big screen adaptation of The Big Valley. The film will be based off the popular TV show of the same name that ran from 1965-69. The show was in the same vein as Bonanza and Gunsmoke, which is another series being primed for a theatrical adaptation. Sarandon will have big shoes to fill as her character of choice was originally played by one the strongest female actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
The television series centered on the Barkley clan, a family of ranchers who lived during the 1870s in San Joaquin Valley. They were led by their mother and matriarch Victoria Barkley who was played by the legendary Barbara Stanwyck. Sarandon is said to be in talks to play Victoria in the feature version, which will have Kate Edelman Johnson producing. Johnson’s late father Louis F. Edelman, and writer A.I. Bezzerides co-created the original series.
“The Big Valley” only lasted for four seasons, but plenty of talent came out of the show. Lee Majors, who played Heath Barkley, went on to star in the “Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Fall Guy,” while Linda Evans who played his younger sister Audra starred as Krystle Carrington in “Dynasty.” And the fact that Barbara Stanwyck was the main character wasn’t too shabby either. Her film resume before she appeared on the show was filled with recognizable features.
Sarandon is a talented actress, but her look is drastically different from what Stanwyck portrayed on the show. Victoria was known for her silver-gray hair, and I can’t see Sarandon aging herself up for the part. If she did it would be more honest, but I think they’ll go as contemporary as they can for the time period.
What do you think of Sarandon taking on the role of Victoria Barkley in Big Valley?