James Franco and Chris O’Dowd have signed on to make their Broadway debuts in Of Mice And Men, the first new production of the John Steinbeck novel in 40 years. It will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who won the Tony for August: Osage County. Franco, who has now tried just about every outlet an actor can try, will play George, while The Sapphires star O’Dowd will play Lennie. The play will be staged at the Longacre Theatre with previews starting March 19. It officially opens April 16 and will run through July 27. They’ll start selling tickets January 11. David Binder is producing Of Mice And Men with Darren Bagert, Kate Lear and Barbara Whitman.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris O’Dowd, who opens today in The Sapphires, is in early talks to join Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, the film that Ted Melfi will direct from his script for The Weinstein Company and Chernin Entertainment. O’Dowd will play a sympathetic Catholic priest shocked to see the influence that the title character has on an angelic 12-year-old boy whose hardworking single mother (McCarthy) foists the child care duties on Murray’s character. He is a cantankerous train wreck who takes the kid under his corrupt wing. The project, which Chernin Entertainment developed for two years with Melfi’s Black List script, has been compared to As Good As It Gets or even TWC’s recent Silver Linings Playbook for the way it mixes comedy and human pathos.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
There are a lot of slashes in the titles of the guys in charge of HBO’s new series Family Tree, making its debut in the spring. Christopher Guest is writer/director/executive producer, and Jim Piddock is writer/creator/executive producer and also plays the role of Martin Pfister in the single-camera, documentary style show. (Executive producer Karen Murphy was not present).
Only actor Chris O’Dowd, who portrays Tom Chadwick, has no official title slash. But even his work calls for an extra level of creativity, since the show’s structure will reflect the improvisational mockumentary elements of Guest’s movies. “It’s very freeing, but very pressured at the moment,” said O’Dowd.
Dowd’s character, Tom, is a 30-year-old man who has recently lost his job and girlfriend, and goes on a quest for his family identity when he inherits a mysterious box of memorabilia from a great aunt he never met. That story, Guest said, is based on his own experience going through the inherited belongings of his father, who died 16 years ago.