London film execs scouting Colebrook for miniseries on 1997 Carl Drega killing spree

Union Leader Correspondent
September 19. 2018 10:05AM
Author Richard Adams Carey at his home in Sandwich on Tuesday. Recently, Island Pictures, a London-based independent film and TV production company, bought an 18-month option on his book “In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town,” which recounts the murders of four people in Colebrook on Aug, 19, 1997. (John Koziol)

Carl Drega shot and killed four people in Colebrook on Aug, 19, 1997 . (COURTESY)

COLEBROOK — Representatives of a London-based independent film and TV production company will be here next week to talk to folks and scout potential locations for a six- to eight-part miniseries based on the 2015 book, “In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town.”

Author Richard Adams Carey of Sandwich tells the story of how the North Country community endured and survived the events of Aug, 19, 1997, when Carl Drega — a loner with a quarter-century worth of property-rights disputes — shot and killed four people.

Carey, 66, said he deliberately focused on the grace and heroism of many people and the victims: New Hampshire State Police troopers Scott Phillips and Les Lord; District Court Judge Vickie Bunnell; and Dennis Joos, editor of the Colebrook News-Sentinel.

Well-received in the Granite State, the book is also a hit across the Atlantic at Island Pictures, which recently signed a “four-figure” 18-month option with Carey that can be renewed for another 18 months.

Carey will be in Colebrook on Sept. 24 and 25, accompanied by Aaron Marinel, a videographer from Wolfeboro, and Shannon Fairchild and Sarah Beardsall of Island Pictures (IP).

The development executive at IP, Fairchild has a seasonal home in Moultonborough. It was there two years ago that Carey’s daughter Kyle, a singer and songwriter, gave a private concert that also included Carey reading from “In the Evil Day.”

A memorial outside the Colebrook News and Sentinel building honors New Hampshire state troopers Scott Phillips and Les Lord; District Court Judge Vickie Bunnell and Editor Dennis Joos, all of whom were shot and killed on Aug. 19, 1997, by Carl Drega. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER FILE)

After reading Carey’s book, Fairchild suggested they collaborate on a screenplay. Last February at a writer’s seminar, Fairchild was approached by Beardsall who asked what she was working on.

The conversation prompted Beardsall, who is IP’s producer and whose prior credits as a casting director include “Four Weddings and A Funeral,” “Inspector Morse” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” to share the book with Dominic Minghella, the company’s writer/producer.

The brother of the late Anthony Minghella, who earned an Academy Award for directing “The English Patient,” Dominic Minghella is the creator of “Doc Martin,” an immensely popular Brit-com that is now in its eighth series.

He also wrote and created the Robin Hood series for BBC/Tiger Aspect and is executive producer, and showrunner, of “Knightfall” for A&E Studios and the History Channel. In 2012, with Beardsall, Minghella produced IP’s adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel, “The Scapegoat”.

Should IP produce “In the Evil Day,” Carey, currently a member of the Mountainview MFA faculty at Southern New Hampshire University, would be the project’s script consultant.

Carey said it is Beardsall’s ambition to create something “that will premiere in Colebrook and have people be proud of.” 

Having interviewed some 200 people for “In the Evil Day, Carey said he quickly got the impression that “they didn’t want this story to be about Carl Drega,” whose own life and story ended in a shoot-out with authorities in Brunswick, Vt. not long after the mid-afternoon carnage in Colebrook.

Island Pictures, he said, has expressed that same sentiment. Fairchild and Beardsall are looking forward to coming to town and meeting with people who were present as one of the most terrible days in New Hampshire history unfolded, Carey said.

“In 1997, this was a huge national and international story and for months, people wrote letters of sympathy” to the News-Sentinel, said Carey, where Bunnell had an office and where Drega went directly after killing Philips and Lord.


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