With 2 Oscar winners, Chris Cooper and Diane Wiest, already cast as the leads, this was a no-brainer, but it’s now official: HBO’s drama pilot The Corrections is proceeding to production. The Noah Baumbach/Scott Rudin project, based on Jonathan Franzen’s book, revolves around the troubles of an elderly Midwestern couple (Cooper and Wiest), and their three adult children as they trace their lives from the mid-20th century to “one last Christmas” together near the turn of the millennium. Baumbach and Franzen co-wrote the adaptation, with Baumbach set to direct the pilot. The two are executive producing with Rudin.
It’s an unusual year with lots of first class lead performances from women, including Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Diane Lane, Tilda Swinton, Lesley Manville, Michelle Williams, Noomi Rapace, Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, and Anne Hathaway. I think there is none better than Nicole Kidman making a major artistic comeback after a string of disappointments that include Australia, Nine, Margot At The Wedding, The Invasion, Fur, and Human Stain. She turns in a brilliant performance in Rabbit Hole, which had its gala world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Monday night. (I saw it at a private screening in L.A. a few weeks ago.) As a mother dealing with the sudden death of her 4-year-old son, Kidman gets it all heartbreakingly right. She is matched by costars Aaron Eckhart as her husband and Dianne Wiest as her mother. This is easily her best work since winning an Oscar for 2002’s The Hours, and probably her most assured screen work, even though I confess to being a major To Die For groupie.
One thing the actress has always done is take creative leaps with scripts that aren’t obviously commercial (Dogville, anyone?). Based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, the role Kidman plays won a Best Actress Tony for Cynthia Nixon. The film version, written by Lindsay-Abaire and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, is up for grabs at Toronto. Reps for the film tell me they not only …
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.