Colm Meaney, the Irish actor who plays Thomas Durant in AMC’s Western series Hell on Wheels, has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Saturn award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. The 39th Annual Saturn Awards will be presented this coming June.
The Saturn Awards – based in Los Angeles, California – originated in 1972 from an idea that science fiction and fantasy films were not being given deserved critical appreciation. In addition to the categories of science fiction, horror and fantasy, work within the established dramatic genres is also recognized. Meaney himself worked specifically within the science fiction genre with the Star Trek television series of the 1980s and 90s.
Hell on Wheels frames its story around the westward construction of the Union Pacific transcontinental railroad in the immediate post-Civil War West. The character of Thomas Durant in the series is drawn from a real historical figure – Thomas Durant (1820 – 1885) was vice-president of the Union Pacific Railroad and directed financing for that railway.
In the following AMC-produced clip, Meaney discusses both the actual Durant and his characterization:
The first season of Hell on Wheels was launched in November of 2011. In the show’s first episode, the lead character, a former Confederate soldier named Cullen Bohannon (played by Anson Mount), arrives at the mobile railway town named “Hell on Wheels” to seek revenge for the death of his family by a Union gang during the Civil War – Bohannon has tracked a member of the gang to the construction site. The year is 1865.
Hell on Wheels explores a number of themes that include American expansionism, race relations between white workers and former African-American slaves hired by the railway, Indigenous territorial rights, lingering resentments after the Civil War and notions of social class.
Season 3 for the series has been confirmed by AMC with filming slated for this spring in Alberta, Canada.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)