Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In a rare small-screen stint, Bill Murray has joined the cast of HBO’s Olive Kitteridge, the miniseries based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Adapted by Jane Anderson and directed by The Kids Are All Right’s Lisa Cholodenko, the mini tells the tale of a seemingly placid New England town fraught with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, as chronicled through the eyes of Olive who is tough on the outside but has a strong moral center. She’s played by Frances McDormand, and Murray is playing Jack Kennison, a local widower whom Kitteridge befriends.

Richard Jenkins plays Olive’s husband, and John Gallagher Jr, Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoe Kazan, Jesse Plemons, and Cory Michael Smith also star. The miniseries is a co-production between Playtone and As Is, with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman exec producing with McDormand and Anderson. Steven Shareshian is co-exec producer and David Coatsworth. McDormand optioned the material when it was in galley form, and it really has turned into something exceptional.

Murray just wrapped the Ted Melfi-directed St. Vincent De Van Nuys, as well as the George Clooney-directed Monuments Men, and the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s part of the cast of Cameron Crowe’s film as well. He’s lawyered by David Nochimson.