EXCLUSIVE: There is a saying that you’ve got to be an Oscar winner to get to direct an HBO pilot these days: look at Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire), Alexander Payne (Hung), Bill Condon (Tilda) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Miraculous Year). Now you may need an Oscar statuette to be an episodic director on the pay cable channel too. The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme has been tapped to direct two episodes of HBO’s upcoming Mike White/Laura Dern comedy series Enlightened. This marks a rare series gig for Demme, who has previously directed an episode each of Colombo (1978) and Saturday Night Live (1980). I hear he is good friends with Dern and is a fan of her work and of Enightened. The single-camera comedy created by White stars Dern as a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to live an enlightened life, which creates havoc at home and work. Luke Wilson, Dern’s mom, actress Diane Ladd, Timm Sharp and Amy Hill co-star. In addition to his gig on Enlightened, Demme may also direct a pilot for HBO. Earlier this year, the ICM-repped director teamed with the network to develop a series project based on Walter Mosley’s new detective novel series The Long Fall. Demme is co-writing the pilot script with Mosley and is also attached to direct the project, which is produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone. Demme most recently directed Rachel Getting Married and an upcoming Bob Marley documentary. On the film side, he is circling the Paul Haggis-penned feature Honeymoon with Harry that may star Robert de Niro and Bradley Cooper.
UPDATE: More Enlightened director news! I just got the following email from Mike White: “Demme is awesome – only wish you had included our other awesome directors We also have John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig) and Phil Morrison (Junebug), directing TV for the first time, as well as indie darlings Nicole Holofcener (Please Give, Lovely and Amazing) and Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Chuck and Buck)”
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.