Apple axes ‘Bastards’ Apple TV+ series over ‘tone of vigilante justice’

Bastards, the eight-episode series starring Richard Gere based on the Israeli drama Nevelot, will not move forward at Apple’s forthcoming Apple TV+ streaming service.

Lesley Goldberg for The Hollywood Reporter:

Picked up straight to series late last year, Gere was set to star as one of two elderly Vietnam vets and best friends who find their monotonous lives upended when a woman they both loved 50 years ago is killed by a car. Their lifelong regrets and secrets collide with their resentment of today’s self-absorbed millennials and the duo then go on a shooting spree…

Howard Gordon and Warren Leight were originally set to exec produce the dark drama based on the Israeli format… Gordon and Leight collaborated on two scripts and, sources say, were met with notes from Apple about the show’s tone of vigilante justice. Sources say Gordon did not want to focus on the larger metaphor of friendship between the two Vietnam vets and wanted to focus on the darker elements of the series, with Fox 21 executives backing the veteran producer. Leight departed shortly afterward and Apple, which multiple sources note is looking for aspirational programming, wanted to ensure the series was focused on the heart and emotion of the central friendship.

Apple and Gordon/Fox 21 could not come to a middle ground and the tech company opted instead to release the project and pay a sizable financial penalty… It’s unclear if the dark drama — poised to have been Gere’s highest profile TV role — will find a new home.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV+’s pre-launch pejorative, “Expensive NBC,” just got burnished. Hopefully, Netflix or some other services will pick it up in short order.

24 Comments

  1. Given recent events in Tx, among other places, a program that justifies vigilante violence by angry white guys seems obviously problematic. Ditto for scapegoating Vietnam vets as angry white guys.

    1. Your post is a volume of LIBERAL fiction.

      Given the recent events in TX have absolutely NOTHING to do with a FICTIONAL show in the works for years. Violence in movies and series shows are produced and shown 365 days a year. Go to any movie theater or turn on any cable network, any day of the week and you will find violent programming.

      Not one artist practicing their craft should have their creative rights curtailed for a nanosecond over a criminal whack job and PC politics. Not now, not ever!

      The reason for the cancellation is clear and has nothing to do with recent events or liberal political causes. From the article:

      “Apple, which multiple sources note is looking for aspirational programming, wanted to ensure the series was focused on the heart and emotion of the central friendship. Apple and Gordon/Fox 21 could not come to a middle ground and the tech company opted instead to release the project and pay a sizable financial penalty…”

      Artistic disagreements happen all the time. They agreed to disagree, nuff said.

      “Ditto for scapegoating Vietnam vets as angry white guys.”

      No scapegoats here the word is stereotyping and I do not detect it one particle. No one said ALL Vietnam vets are angry white guys. I know a few personally (cousin, friends), but certainly do not represent the majority. The Vietnam War veterans is not exclusive to white males, many other races participated. Stereotyping white vets is just WRONG…

      1. I’m glad we agree that stereotyping Vietnam vets is just WRONG. We apparently disagree whether this show and all the other portrayals of Vets as violent, PTSD-ridden substance abusers out to get revenge on society constitute stereotyping. I singled out white guys because white guys have perpetrated most of the recent mass shootings. A program portraying similar violence sympathetically is, as I originally suggested, not something that most companies would touch with a ten-foot pole. A number of projects have been cancelled or postponed by other studios for the same reason.

  2. “killed by a car”
    Interesting phrasing. Whoever killed her, it wasn’t “a car”.

    “shooting spree”
    So that makes sense. If they got the one person who had done it, there would be a degree of justification in many people’s minds. But “a shooting spree”?

    Why don’t some of these peolpe lose control and go and do a nice pruning job on all their neighbors’ rose bushes. How the hell did this arise that “I’m a guy and I’m boiling-over pissed off… so I’ll go and kill people”?

      1. Right, like all those liberals in El Paso, Odessa, and Midland who violently threw their bodies against bullets fired by guys just exercising their constitutional rights.

        1. “ fired by guys just exercising their constitutional rights.”

          No! Liberal mocking reply, nothing more. Do not equate mad murderers with peaceful people “exercising their constitutional rights”…

          1. Deflecting from what to what? You and your comrades are the ones trying to compare the tiny number of politically-motivated murders by American leftists with the literally hundreds of murders by angry white guys who almost certainly voted for The Chosen One. That is deflection, not anything I have said.

            We are all still looking for an explanation from you and your comrades as to why a country with greater population density, similar exposure to violent media and games, much lower church attendance, and a much higher proportion of sons not raised in a two-parent families, like the United Kingdom, has a homicide rate of 0.9 per 100,000 while it is 4.9 in the USA.

            One possibility is that a subset of Americans aren’t bothered by sympathetic portrayals of serial killers, but instead see them—and their aggressive use of firearms—as appropriate models of masculinity. A few of them act on their inclinations. Better not to feed their inclinations. Good for Apple!

            1. “has a homicide rate of 0.9 per 100,000 while it is 4.9 in the USA.”

              You will never hear it from me or my comrades because we can spot a cherry picked statistic comparing apples and oranges a country mile away. You also did not cite the source, year of survey and sample size. Probably overdosing on the journalistically DISCREDITED Mother Jones, again.

              “One possibility is that a subset of Americans aren’t bothered by sympathetic portrayals”

              That would be ginned up emotions by bleeding hearts for political purposes. I am immune from sophistry.

              “ their aggressive use of firearms—as appropriate models of masculinity.”

              What, are we going to argue penis size next up? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

            2. I’ve been looking for where I got the 4.9 vs 0.9 figure. Not sure, but the numbers I did find today are even more lopsided. Mother Jones not among my sources, then or now.

              The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime tracks murder, as opposed to the broader category homicide. It lists the total US murder rate at 5.9 and the UK rate at 1.2. You can verify that any number of places. Interestingly, the gap in total intentional homicides is even wider.

              https://dataunodc.un.org/crime/intentional-homicide-victims

              The latest figures from the World Bank are about the same: they round the homicide per 100,000 rate to 1 for the UK and 5 for the US.

              The figures from the FBI and the UK Home Office in 2016 show 3.4 gun homicides per 100,000 in America and 0.048 in the United Kingdom. That is a ratio of 70 to 1. The knife homicide rate in the US is 0.496 vs. 0.326 in the UK.

              So, again, what is your explanation for the difference? Britain has more broken homes and lower church attendance than the USA, and as much exposure to violent media and games. If it isn’t different cultural attitudes towards guns, violence, and masculinity, then what?

  3. I understand Apple’s hesitancy, but artists have to have the freedom to express their art. Apple is trying to be Disney. But Disney is Disney. Apple will never dominate the market unless they also appeal to the darker side. It’s fine by me if they don’t, but we shouldn’t have any expectations of significant market penetration if they stay all family friendly…

  4. Violent style over meaningful substance in this thin and synical premise better developed for a shootemup game so Apple was right to cancel it if the article is sufficiently truthful.

  5. Yeah…I’m starting to think maybe Apple isn’t going to have the best overall content if they’re going to get hung up on the idea that anything on their “channel” has to be in some close alignment with their greater corporate values. Maybe they think they’ll be held to a higher standard than Netflix or other streaming services — and maybe they’re right. But we already have a Disney and I’m not so sure there’s room for another one.

    I guess only time will tell. To me, it’s disappointing because there is a place for mature entertainment that reflects reality a bit more. And I say this as someone who is very fine with the way they’ve applied a pretty tight ethical screening of games and applications over the years. I have always felt that the “Safari app” has plenty of access to lesser controlled content. And for software, it works very well. I’m just not sure there’s going to be a market for as MDN called it, an expensive network TV.

        1. Sure. Illegal violence is illegal violence. Stalin did not justify Hitler. Antifa did not justify killing 22 innocent people in El Paso. Perceived injustice does not justify vigilante “justice.” Freedom of expression does not make sympathetic portrayals of unlawful violence something that Apple is required to finance.

  6. “all the other portrayals of Vets as violent, PTSD-ridden substance abusers out to get revenge on society constitute stereotyping.”

    All? Absolute statement that is FALSE. You have no evidence to back it up. Opinion, got it.

    “constitute stereotyping” sounds like you obsessive with white males and Trump supporters never missing a snide conflated dig.

    Just a different artistic view is what I would like to see. Unfortunately, like your post, TYPICAL attempt to use the news to deny freedoms of artistic expression and free speech WHILE politicizing it in PC religion terms solely for Democratic gain. Shameful…

    1. If you haven’t noticed all the negative, stereotyped portrayals of Vietnam (and other) veterans since about 1965, you must have been living in a cave for the last 50+ years. Unless, of course, you are the sort of anti-American scum who thinks all those portrayals are accurate!

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