EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain writers Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have teamed with Super Size Me documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock for a drama series project set up at HBO. The project, described as a big-canvas Texas political drama, is based on an idea by Spurlock, who, along with manager-producer Larry Shuman, approached McMurtry and Ossana. McMurtry and Ossana have written a script for the project, which they are executive producing for Fox TV Studios. Spurlock and Shuman are executive producing through their shingles, Warrior Poets and the Shuman Co., respectively, with McMurtry and Ossana’s manager Adam Shulman, Jennifer Berman and Warrior Poets’ Jeremy Chilnick also expected to produce.
On the feature side, McMurtry and Ossana are writing two major period Westerns for Scott Free, The Color of Lightning for Ridley Scott to direct at 20th Century Fox, and an adaptation of S. C. Gwynne’s book Empire of the Summer Moon for Warner Bros. with Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper attached to direct. McMurtry won a Pulitzer for his novel Lonesome Dove, which was made into a hit miniseries. UTA-repped McMurtry and Ossana adapted the Lonesome Dove prequel Comanche Moon into a 6-episode miniseries and have developed a couple of TV projects at the broadcast networks. Spurlock, repped CAA and the Arlook Group, exec produced and starred in the docu series 30 Days.
HBO has put in development Muscle, a single-camera comedy from Blue Valentine co-writer/director Derek Cianfrance about the subculture of contemporary professional bodybuilding. It is based on Sam Fussell’s memoir Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder, which chronicles his four-year stint … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated writer Kenneth Lonergan has come on board to pen Taxi-22, HBO’s adaptation of the hit French Canadian single-camera comedy executive produced by James Gandolfini and developed as a potential starring … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It’s ladies’ season at HBO as the pay cable network is putting in development another high-profile project fronted by a top comedic actress. HBO just picked up a comedy from veteran Simpsons writer-producer Tim Long with Molly Shannon attached to star. The untitled comedy would star the Saturday Night Live alumna as a nun who makes the difficult decision to leave the convent and confront life in the outside world. Shannon’s character became a nun after getting her heart broken at 18. Now she is an utterly innocent woman in her early 40s who has never had sex and has to discover the modern world in all of its tawdriness. “It’s James Joyce meets Judd Apatow – a female 40-Year-Old Virgin with a huge dollop of Catholic weirdness thrown in,” Long said. Shannon, of course, knows a thing or two about playing offbeat characters of the Catholic faith having played awkward school girl Mary Katherine Gallagher on SNL. The show will also showcase Shannon’s singing talent. It “will be outrageously funny – it’s Molly Shannon, for crying out loud — but it’ll also be a serious look at a woman who’s 40 but emotionally still in her teens and who needs to get wise very quickly,” Long said. The show is not going to shy away from thorny issues such as religion and sexuality, which was a main reason for Long and Shannon to take it to HBO. Long will be writing the project, which he is executive producing with Shannon and her manager Steven Levy of Framework. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Clyde Phillips has set up his first post-Dexter project. After a bidding war among several cable networks, HBO has landed a character-driven drama from Phillips and Lionsgate TV based on the Israeli series The Naked Truth. Phillips, who spent 4 years at Showtime running Dexter, will write the adaptation and will executive produce the project, his first under the 2-year overall deal with Lionsgate TV he signed in June. The Naked Truth is set in a major East Coast metropolitan precinct and follows the officers investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl from a prominent family in the pressure cooker atmosphere of an explosive high-profile case that has implications not just for the family of the victim, but for the cops themselves and the political infrastructure of the city. “It’s about the cops encountering people on the worst day of the citizens’ life,” Phillips said. “It’s a bit of an exploration of the middle class and the challenges we all face; it’s a heartbreaking story about a family in a time of crisis and how everyone deals with it.” Read More »
After recreating Prohibition era Atlantic City in Boardwalk Empire, HBO is looking to resurrect Cold War era Berlin in a new spy drama project from Boardwalk executive producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, New Yorker writer/best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is looking to add more estrogen to its current slate of all-guy comedy series: Entourgage, Eastbound & Down, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death, Hung, The Life and Times of Tim and How to Make it America. A new comedy project staring and produced by Tea Leoni is in serious consideration for a pilot pickup at the pay cable network, whose biggest comedy hit was the female-centered Sex and the City. Like Sex and the City, the Tea Leoni comedy, tentatively titled Spring/Fall, also takes place in New York City. It is set against the backdrop of New York’s fashion world and stars Leoni as half of a dysfunctional partnership between two women with different approaches to career, family, and friendship. Kate Robin who was a writer/producer on HBO’s Six Feet Under, wrote the script. She and Leoni are executive producing Spring/Fall with documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler, who knows a thing or two about fashion having directed The September Issue documentary last year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is developing a single-camera comedy series based on Clint McCown’s 1995 book The Member-Guest. Feature writer-producer Steve Pink (High Fidelity) is writing the script. Kevin Bacon is executive producing with an eye towards starring in the project, about a burned-out golf pro of a 9-hole course who just wants one more shot at the tour. His comeback is constantly sidelined as he deals with the needs of the members of the Middle-American country club who are grappling with dashed dreams of their own. Pink is executive producing along with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment and Tom Mangan, with McCown serving as a consultant. Read More »
Al Pacino & Joe Pesci Circling Scorsese/De Niro Mob Movie
EXCLUSIVE: It’s turning out to be an interesting week for projects based on organized crime. Just … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Former Paramount Film Group president John Lesher has set up two series projects at HBO as a producer, both with feature writers: Keys to the City, which is being penned by Oscar winner William Monahan, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: HBO is teaming with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez and actress Lizzy Caplan to develop a comedy series project based on actress/writer Julie Klausner’s memoir I Don’t Care About Your Band. The project is eyed … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I hear the Boardwalk Empire duo of director Martin Scorsese and writer Terence Winter is re-teaming with HBO for another sweeping period drama series project, and this time, they have rock legend Mick Jagger as a partner. The project, referred … Read More »