Jacki Weaver, an Oscar nominee for Silver Linings Playbook, is set to co-star in the CBS/Sony TV single-camera comedy pilot The McCarthys. Written by Brian Gallivan, directed by Fred Savage and executive produced by Will Gluck, it revolves around an Irish-Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family. Weaver, repped by ICM Partners and Elevate Entertainment, will play the clan’s loving mother Marjorie McCarthy, who has no filter and loves having her gay son keep her company when her husband (Jack McGee) and other kids are off coaching basketball games. This marks the first U.S. series gig for Australian-born Weaver, who has landed two Oscar nominations in three years. She was also nominated in 2011 for Animal Kingdom.
And we’re off… I received emails and calls from a couple of recently inducted Academy Award voters who reported that the first two screeners of the season arrived in their mailboxes Wednesday from Sony Pictures Classics. The studio beat the competition by sending out the Australian crime thriller Animal Kingdom and the multi-story drama Mother And Child to all of the nearly 6,000 members. It’s a repeat of a familiar strategy employed by SPC in the past when they were first out in 2008 with Frozen River and in 2005 with Junebug. These small earlier-in-the-year releases clearly benefitted from separating themselves from the glut of November/December arrivals – and in the case of Frozen River landed Best Actress (Melissa Leo) and Best Original Screenplay nominations while the little-heralded Junebug pulled off a supporting actress nod for Amy Adams.
With Animal Kingdom trying to stay alive at the box office since its August 13th release, SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard recently told me they plan to aggressively go after a supporting actress nomination for the acclaimed performance of Jacki Weaver, whose dynamic turn in the film would probably be a slam dunk if it could generate any Oscar heat. It’s exactly the kind of gritty character role that actors love to reward. The early screener gambit is a way to start.
As for Rodrigo Garcia’s heartfelt SPC film Mother And Child, which seemed to open and close rather quickly …