Francois Girard (The Red Violin) directs the Informant Media feature which Dustin Hoffman has signed on to topline. Pic tells the story of troubled 11-year-old Stet, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who ends up in a school choir butting heads with Choir Master Carvelle (Hoffman), who pushes the boy to find his creative heart and soul in music. Young members of the renowned American Boychoir School will appear in the film, with Alfred Molina set to play fellow teacher Drake and Kathy Bates cast as the school’s headmistress. Source Code‘s Ben Ripley penned the script and Judy Cairo, Carol Baum and Jane Goldenring will produce. Informant’s Michael A. Simpson and Eric Brenner are exec producing with Ripley. John Papsidera is co-producing and casting the picture in a worldwide search for a musically and dramatically gifted young thesp to play Stet.
EXCLUSIVE: Academy Award-nominated John Lithgow will star alongside Alfred Molina in Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange, the NYC-set drama about a just-married gay couple whose honeymoon is complicated when circumstances force them to temporarily separate. When George (Molina) loses his job, his partner of 38 years, painter Ben (Lithgow), moves in with his nephew and George with the gay cops next door. Michael Gambon was initially set to play the role of Ben before scheduling conflicts led to his departure from the project. It’s the next pic from Sachs after 2012′s award-winning Keep The Lights On and the first collaboration by longtime pals Lithgow and Molina. “We’ll be playing the main roles in the best script I’ve read in years,” said Lithgow in a statement, “a vivid portrait of marriage, with all its joy, folly, and occasional heartbreak.” Filming is set for August in NYC.
I hear NBC is keeping comedy pilot Assistance in contention with an order for three more scripts. Additionally, I hear producing studio Universal TV has extended the options on several cast members, including star Krysten Ritter and pilot standout Alfred Molina. Assistance, from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods, is based on the play by Leslye Headland, who wrote the adaptation. It centers on an idealistic “working girl” assistant (Ritter) who is pulled between her colleague (“work husband”) and her real-life fiance while trying to manage a demanding (translation: crazy) boss.
Alfred Molina may be returning to his comedy roots with a starring role opposite Krysten Ritter in the NBC single-camera comedy pilot Assistance, from Gary Sanchez Prods and Universal TV. Written by Leslye Headland, Assistance centers on Nora (Ritter), an idealistic “working girl” assistant who is pulled between her colleague Seth (Zach Cregger) and her real-life fiance (Peter Cambor) while trying to manage her demanding boss Daniel (Molina). Daniel is a very successful film producer with a large presence and thick intensity. Molina currently stars on David E. Kelley TNT drama series Monday Mornings, which has done poorly in the ratings and is not expected to go to a second season. Since headlining a couple of sitcoms on CBS a decade ago, Molina, repped by WME and manager Joan Hyler, has stayed largely on the drama side with starring roles on Law & Order: LA and Monday Mornings.
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
EXCLUSIVE: Ira Sachs will direct Michael Gambon and Alfred Molina as a married couple in the NY-based relationship drama Love Is Strange. The follow-up to Sachs’ semi-autobiographical drama Keep the Lights On similarly explores the romantic ups and downs of a gay relationship, with Gambon and Molina playing longtime partners forced to live separately after their Manhattan nuptials. Parts & Labor, the company behind Lights, is producing, with shooting set to begin this summer in New York.
Sachs, nominated for a Best Director Indie Spirit Award for Best Director for Keep The Lights On, reteamed with Lights co-writer Mauricio Zacharias on the script. Sachs will produce alongside Lucas Joaquin and Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy. Crescendo Films’ Adam Leibovitz and Kinoelektron’s Janja Kralj are co-producers.
EXCLUSIVE: Alfred Molina is set to star in David E. Kelley’s TNT medical drama pilot Chelsea General. Based on CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings, the project follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. It uses as a backdrop the hospital’s Monday Morbidity and Mortality conference, considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine, where doctors gather for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care. Molina will play Dr. Harding Hooten, the steely-eyed Chief of Surgery at Chelsea General, known for his punishing and outwardly-uncaring ways. He heads up a weekly meeting in which doctors are lauded for their good work, or criticized (even fired) for their mistakes. Also cast in the pilot is Bill Irwin (CSI) as Dr. Buck Tierney, a smug doctor who takes himself very seriously and rubs his colleagues the wrong way. Molina and Irwin join previously cast Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan. This marks a reunion for Molina and Kelley — Molina recently did an arc on Kelley’s NBC legal dramedy Harry’s Law. He also toplined NBC’s spinoff series Law & Order: LA last season. Kelley and Gupta, who is a practicing neurosurgeon, are executive producing Chelsea General; Kelley’s frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia is set to direct the pilot.
TNT has set its fall/winter schedule, which includes the continuation of the current seasons of The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles and Leverage, which all return with new episodes on Nov. 27/Nov. 28; the new season of Southland, which will kick off in January; and the first installment of the network’s new original movie franchise TNT Mystery Movie Night, which will debut Nov. 29. In the scheduling release, TNT also announces additional castings on several of its movies, including Alfred Molina joining Scott Turow’s Innocent, Dermot Mulroney tapped to star in Silent Witness, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Kevin Alejandro coming on board Hide. Here is a detailed list of TNT’s upcoming premiere dates:
Christopher McDonald, whose character Tommy Jefferson recurred last season on NBC’s Harry’s Law, has been upped to series regular for the upcoming season, which kicks off Sept. 21 on a new night and time period: Wednesdays at 9 PM. It’s the latest casting move for the legal drama, which last week added Tony winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story) as a regular, playing a new associate at the law firm run by Kathy Bates’ Harry. The series, from David E. Kelley and Warner Bros TV, also inked a deal with former Law & Order: LA star Alfred Molina for a three-episode arc as a man accused of murdering his wife. McDonald, who also recently appeared on the small screen in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, is repped by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Andrew E. Freedman Public Relations.
Retooled freshman drama Law & Order: Los Angeles will return to the schedule with a two-hour episode on Monday, April 11 and will move to its regular Monday 10 PM time period the following week. “We are pleased to welcome Law & Order: Los Angeles back to NBC’s regular lineup,” NBC’s chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Dick Wolf and his team have made some exciting creative changes and we can’t wait to re-introduce the show to audiences.”
LOLA will see Alfred Molina in his new role as Detectives Ricardo Morales, partnered with Tomas “TJ” Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) as they pursue cases through the diverse City of Angels. As part of the creative overhaul of the show, which included the departure of 3 regulars, including Skeet Ulrich, Alana de la Garza, veteran of the mothership Law & Order series, is joining the series, reprising her role as Deputy District Attorney Connie Rubirosa. Staying put is Terrence Howard as Deputy District Attorney Jonah “Joe” Dekker.
Earlier this season, LOLA averaged a 2.5/7 in adults 18-49 and 9.0 million viewers overall. The show launched to some gripes from die-hard Law & Order fans that the newest installment has strayed from what made the first 3 Law & Order series work. In the new incarnation of LOLA, the producers are addressing that, making the series closer in feel to the others, darker and less “blue sky” than its original run in the fall.
L&O creator …
NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles is being revamped, and, in its new incarnation, it will closely resemble creator Dick Wolf’s original vision for the spinoff (as well as the setup of the mothership Law & Order series). There will be 2 cops, one D.D.A. and one ADA. As we first reported, Skeet Ulrich, who plays one of the cops on the show, Detective Rex Winters, will be leaving, with his last appearance slated for Episode 14. His place will be taken by Alfred Molina, who plays D.D.A Ricardo Morales. It will be revealed that his character was on the LAPD for 15 years, reaching the rank of Detective, and his level of frustration as a prosecutor has reached the tipping point so he has decided to return to the force as a Detective, partnered with TJ Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll). Terrence Howard, whose character Jonah Dekker alternated with Molina’s Morales, will now be the sole D.D.A .on the show. Howard and Molina will both appear in each episode.
Having one D.D.A. was Wolf’s original plan for LOLA. But when he was able to land both Howard and Molina, he split the duties between the two. However, Wolf had been looking for a way to have both of them on the show full-time. “We have the fortune of two world class actors on LOLA, and it was frustrating to have one on the bench every week,” Wolf said. “It would be …
UPDATE: NBC’s new series Los & Order: Los Angeles has locked in its cast, with one day to spare. CSI: Miami alumna Wanda De Jesus and former Ally McBeal co-star Regina Hall have landed the last regular roles on the crime procedural, which starts production on Monday. De Jesus will play Lieutenant Arleen Gonzales, the cool and authoritative captain of the LAPD Robbery Homicide Division. Hall will play DDA Eva Price, a gorgeous and brainy bombshell with a strong sense of moral rectitude. The two join previously cast Skeet Ulrich, Alfred Molina, Terrence Howard, Corey Stoll. De Jesus, repped by Diverse Talent and manager Bob McGowan, appears on All My Children. One of Hall’s first acting gigs was a guest spot on New York Undercover co-created by Dick Wolf. The actress, repped by ICM and Principato Young, went on to work mostly in features (Scary Movie, Death At A Funeral). Molina and Howard will alternate as Deputy D.A.s, while Ulrich and Stoll play Detective Rex Winters and TJ Jaruszalski, respectively.
Howard will play a new Deputy D.A. who will work alongside Deputy D.A. Morales (Molina). Howard and Molina will be splitting the workload, each appearing roughly in the half of the episodes thus allowing the show to land big feature names and the actors to stay active in movies.
Ulrich and Stoll play Detective Rex Winters and TJ Jaruszalski. Production on LOLA is slated to begin on Aug. 2 for a Sept. 22 premiere.
EXCLUSIVE: Corey Stoll (Salt) has landed the detective co-lead opposite Skeet Ulrich on NBC’s upcoming Law & Order spinoff Law & Order: Los Angeles. He joins previously cast Ulrich and Alfred Molina. Stoll will play Detective Rex Winters’ (Ulrich) partner TJ Jaruszalski, a confident Hollywood native with a cynical view of the entertainment industry, a health nut with an active social life. LOLA is scheduled to begin production Aug. 2. Corey guest starred on the mothership Law & Order series and did an arc on NCIS.
Taymor has her hands full trying to get Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark to Broadway this upcoming season. But she’ll detour to Italy, where her film The Tempest is set as the closing film of the Venice Film Festival. Taymor’s Shakespeare adaptation stars Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, Djimon Honsou, and Reeve Carney. She set the latter to play Spider-Man in the pricey Broadway musical with music and lyrics by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Venice has bookended its fest with Taymor and the opener Black Swan, the Darren Aronofsky-directed drama.
Alfred Molina has joined Skeet Ulrich on NBC’s upcoming Law & Order spinoff, Law & Order: Los Angeles. He will play Deputy D.A. Morales. ”I am thrilled that Fred is LOLA‘s Deputy D.A.,” creator-executive producer Dick Wolf said. “He joins a remarkable list of some of America’s greatest character actors like Sam Waterson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeff Goldblum, Steven Hill, Dianne Wiest and Michael Moriarity as stars of the Law & Order-branded series.”
Ulrich was previously tapped to play Detective Rex Winters, one of the two detectives at the center of the crime procedural. Production on LOLA is slated to begin on Aug. 2 for a Sept. 22 premiere.
Molina is coming off a Tony-nominated turn on Broadway in Red. On the big screen, he is currently seen in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. LOLA will mark Molina’s first regular series gig since the 2002 sitcom Bram and Alice. Law & Order: Los Angeles is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios. Wolf, Rene Balcer, Blake Masters and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.