EXCLUSIVE: Christian Slater has been set to join James Franco in the Pamela Romanowsky-directed Adderall Diaries. Franco plays a troubled and drug-addicted writer who becomes fascinated by a big murder trial and decides to create a book focusing on the explosive case. Slater will play the focus of that case, a man suspected of killing his ex-wife. Romanowsky wrote the script and Vince Jolivette will produce. The film will be shot in New York. Slater, last seen in the Lars von Trier-directed Nymphomaniac films, is repped by UTA.
TV critics love deeply flawed guys on cable dramas. On broadcast, maybe not so much? Christian Slater and Steve Zahn play brothers — a con man just out of prison, and a brilliant bipolar expert in the field of human behavior, respectively — who form a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation.
One TV critic at the Mind Games Q&A, told the ABC show’s creator she was totally into the pilot until the final twist when she “lost any empathy” and wondered if it would be addressed in the second episode. The creator, Kyle Killen, explained that “what cable’s done to television” is “expanded the palate” and lead characters were no longer expected to be fixed quickly.
Another critic noted it’s Killen’s third recent stab at characters leading a dual life — the other two being NBC’s short-lived Awake, about a cop leading two parallel lives after a car accident, and Fox’s short-lived Lone Star, about a con artist living two lives in Texas. “Nope, just beating the same dead horse,” Killen responded, suggesting he’s maybe not destined to strike up with this particular TV critic one of those effervescent friendships that TV critics and show writers sometimes strike up. Taking the high road, he explained the brothers of Mind Games aspire to help people, which maybe makes it the easiest of his recent TV projects for a wide audience to embrace.
Another critic wondered if Killen had given any thought to switching the two actors’ roles — because, the critic said, Slater is maybe better suited to play a bipolar guy, the illness often goes undiagnosed, tends to run in families, and expresses itself differently among siblings. Killen said he’d never given any thought to switching the two actors.
Christian Slater will play the other lead opposite Steve Zahn in the ABC drama pilot Influence, from Awake creator Kyle Killen and 20th TV. The project is described as a provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers — Clark (Zahn), a bipolar genius in human psychology, and Ross (Slater), a slick ex-con — who head a unique agency designed to solve their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. Ross is described as a brilliant schemer, recently out of prison after a two-year stint for fraud. Roiling with ideas, given to rationalization, high-wired, often charmingly persuasive, divorced three years ago, also an inveterate ladies’ man, Ross has come up with a business model that he believes can make him and his team millions. UTA-repped Slater was recently seen in Bullet To The Head and Fox comedy series Breaking In.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Dillon has been set to co-star in Imogene, joining Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening in the indie comedy that started shooting this week in New York. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are directing, and Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s Maven Pictures is producing with Anonymous Cntent’s Alix Madigan and Steve Golin. Dillon plays the eccentric love interest of Bening’s character. He claims to be in the CIA, but his behavior suggests he just might be crazy. In the Michelle Morgan-scripted comedy, Wiig plays a playwright who stages a fake suicide attempt in reaction to the triple-whammy of losing her job, getting evicted and getting dumped by her boyfriend. She hopes to gain sympathy from her ex, but instead is consigned to return to the home of her gambling addict mother (Bening). Dillon last starred in Takers and guested on Modern Family. He’d been expected to star with Brendan Fraser and William H. Macy in the Charlie Matthau-directed Elmore Leonard novel adaptation Freaky Deaky, but when Fraser dropped out of that due to personal reasons, the other actors followed, and that film will now star Christian Slater, Billy Burke, and Crispin Glover. Dillon is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
Last night, the series premiere of Breaking In drew a 3.5/9 in adults 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers to rank as the highest-rated Fox live-action comedy telecast in over 3 years in 18-49 and total viewers and log the best lead-in retention for a sitcom airing after American Idol in 4 years, since ‘Til Death on Apr. 4, 2007. The Christian Slater-starring Breaking In also outperformed the two other freshman comedies Fox tried out behind Idol this spring, Raising Hope (by 6%) and Traffic Light (by 25%).
The solid premiere numbers are a nice validation for pilot testing as Breaking In scored the highest marks of all Fox pilots last season. Props to Sony TV, which didn’t give up after Fox passed on the pilot and extended the options on the entire cast, to Fox for eventually reversing its decision and giving Breaking In a second chance, to Slater for trying a comedy after his two disastrous drama turns in My Own Worst Enemy and The Forgotten and to his adorable daughter who made his pimping of the Breaking In premiere on American Idol last night far less awkward than other similar cross-promotions on the reality hit. As for the 90-minute Idol (7.1, 22.5 million), it was down …
Actor Christian Slater, star of Fox’s upcoming comedy series Breaking In, has signed with UTA. He was previously with CAA. Slater, who built a career in movies, has done three back-to-back TV series in the past few years: NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy, ABC’s The Forgotten and Breaking In. He has a slew of features in the can, including Sofia, named after and filmed in the capital of my native Bulgaria.
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran drama writer-producer John Eisendrath has inked a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. The seven-figure pact starts in June. Eisendrath was most recently under an overall deal at Universal Media Studios. Under the pact, he served as executive producer/showrunner on the NBC series My Own Worst Enemy starring Christian Slater and developed the NBC legal drama Outlaw. The pilot starring Jimmy Smits came from behind to score a series order in May but the show never found its footing on Friday nights and was eventually canceled. For the next few months until his Sony TV deal kicks in, Eisendrath is considering joining an existing series or doing off-cycle/cable development. Any new projects he develops would be produced by Sony. ICM-repped Eisendrath created and exec produced the praised 2003 ESPN drama series Playmakers. He also has worked on ABC’s Alias, Fox’s Beverly Hills, 90210 and the WB’s Felicity, among others. Last summer, Sony TV got largely out of the pod business to focus on signing deals with experienced creators/showrunners.
EXCLUSIVE: Last season’s Fox comedy pilot Breaking In may make it to the air after all. I hear the network is in negotiations with Sony Pictures TV to pick up the project starring Christian Slater to series for midseason. The single-camera workplace comedy set at a digital security firm, is rumored as a possible replacement for underperforming fall comedy Running Wilde, which has not received a back order. Fox’s midseason schedule announced in May has Running Wilde airing after American Idol‘s 90-minute performance show on Tuesday, sharing the 9:30 PM slot with midseason comedy Mixed Signals.
Fox has ordered two additional scripts for comedy Breaking In a month after the network passed on the comedy pilot starring Christian Slater. The pilot, set at a digital-security firm, was written by Adam F. Goldberg and directed by Seth Gordon. It had buzz, tested well and was in the running for a series pickup before ultimately missing the cut. Now, with the additional script order, producing studio Sony Pictures TV is also expected to extend the options on the cast that also includes Reaper star Bret Harrison. This would prevent Harrison from being considered for the role on new NBC comedy series Perfect Couples, which is recasting a male lead.