At the onset of USA’s Dig panel at Comic-Con, the creators and pilot director behind the action miniseries tubthumped extensively how their project is an anomaly in so far that it’s a show set in Jerusalem, shot in Jerusalem. “Shooting there is paramount to the story in capturing the vividness and emphasizing the characters of the show,” said Dig pilot director S.J. Clarkson. (Watch the trailer below.)
Emphasizing their point, the creators went so far as to show a behind-the-scenes clip of the cast and crew wowing about how riveting it is to shoot in Jerusalem. Then, when asked by Deadline about the production’s status, particularly as it relocates to Albuquerque, New Mexico in the wake of turmoil in Gaza, executive producer Gideon Raff explained, “We shot everything we need for the pilot and now we are relocating to Albuquerque but also scouting locations internationally that will be our new Jerusalem. We are committed not to give up based on what happened.” Read More »
After fielding some half dozen TV offers, former Awake star Jason Isaacs has signed on as the lead of USA Network’s six-episode event series DIG, an action adventure drama from Heroes creator Tim Kring and Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland was based. Kring and Raff co-created DIG, which centers on Peter (Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. It will start filming in Jerusalem and other oversees locations in May for a premiere on USA later this year. Kring and Raff are exec producing with Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir and Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. Isaacs, repped by Gersh, Silver Lining Entertainment and and Karl Austen, is filming NBC’s miniseries Rosemary’s Baby and indie Stockholm, Pennsylvania. He was at the Berlin Film Festival last week with his film Things People Do.
EXCLUSIVE: Suits star Patrick J. Adams is set as the male lead opposite Zoe Saldana in NBC’s four-hour miniseries Rosemary’s Baby, an adaptation of the 1967 best-selling suspense novel by Ira Levin. Jason Isaacs also has joined the mini, directed by Agnieska Holland. It centers on Rosemary Woodhouse (Saldana), a young wife and would-be mother who, with her husband Guy (Adams), moves into a Paris apartment that has a dark past. After finally getting pregnant, she becomes increasingly suspicious that both her husband and their mysterious neighbors have ulterior motives about the future of her child. Isaacs will play warlock/coven-leader Roman Castevet, a role played by Sidney Blackmer in Roman Polanski’s 1968 feature adaptation, in which Guy was played by John Cassavetes. This marks a nice NBCUniversal crossover, with Adams — one of the hottest stars of USA Network where Suits is a flagship series — taking on a lead of an NBC project. It also marks Issacs’ return to NBC where he toplined drama Awake. (He also worked with NBC topper Bob Greenblatt on Showtime’s Brotherhood.) Filming on Rosemary’s Baby, produced by Lionsgate TV, is slated to begin shortly in Paris. Adams is with Andy Corren Management, UTA and attorney Lev Ginsburg; Isaacs with Gersh, Independent Talent Group and Silver Lining.
CBS has won the Jason Isaacs sweepstakes. The Awake star, who was offered virtually every drama male lead in his age range this season, has closed a deal for CBS’ The Surgeon General. The CBS TV Studios-produced project centers on Dr. John Sherman (Isaacs)— the most powerful doctor in the nation, the Surgeon General, who has 315 million patients. As “America’s Doctor,” Sherman and his team battle the powerful forces of politics and business, fighting to protect the health of everyday Americans. In addition to starring, Brit Isaacs will serve as producer. He is with Gersh, The Collective and UK’s Paul Lyon Maris. Rod Lurie has come on board to direct the pilot, from Lie To Me creator/executive producer Samuel Baum.
The annual courtship known as chasing name actors for network pilots is in full force. So far, Rose Byrne, Jason Isaacs, Felicity Huffman, Kyle Chandler and Kevin Kline have proven hard to get, raking up a slew of offers each, though most are zeroing in on pilots and appear ready to commit. They would join other sought after names, including James Wolk, Ellie Kemper, David Walton, Allison Janney, Josh Holloway and Terry Crews, who settled on pilots after fielding multiple offers. Still in play after saying “no” to at least one pilot each are Jessica Alba, John Cusack, Jason Ritter, House star Hugh Laurie, former CSI leading man William Petersen, Law & Order: SVU alum Chris Meloni, Justin Long, Deadwood‘s Ian McShane, Prison Break‘s Dominic Purcell, Minnie Driver, Amanda Peet and Mike O’Malley.
Several actors from shows that have been cancelled this season are also the object of pilot casting directors’ affection. That includes The Office‘s John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, Private Practice‘s Kate Walsh and KaDee Strickland, Don’t Trust The B—‘s Krysten Ritter, Last Resort’s Andre Braugher, Animal Practice‘s Justin Kirk, The Goodwin Games‘ Becki Newton and Ben & Kate‘s Echo Kellum, who already booked two pilots, one as a regular (NBC’s Happiness) and one as a guest star (NBC’s The Gates). … Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Producers and stars of the new series Awake, created by Kyle Killen (Lone Star), tried to reassure journalists today at TCA that the storyline — about a detective living in two realities where clues to his cases overlap — will not be overly confusing. NBC appears convinced that audiences will get it — the network in May ordered 13 episodes of the drama, executive produced by Howard Gordon, but its premiere date is still TBA. Gordon said that a three-week unplanned production hiatus in October was not an indication the show was going off-track. “We were very lucky that we didn’t have an airdate, this was a challenging show for us to figure out,” he said. “We could have kept going, but the three-week hiatus gave us a chance to sort of get our heads together and learn from the distance we had traveled.”
A little more plot: After a car accident Jason Isaacs’ detective Michael Britten finds himself awake in two worlds. In one, his wife survives. In the other, his teenage son is the one who lives. The detective doesn’t know which world is real. BD Wong and Cherry Jones portray his therapists in these parallel worlds, each trying to persuade him the other world is not real. Isaacs insisted the story is simple enough for a child to grasp. How does he know? He said his 5-year-old daughter managed to … Read More »
Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren and Jason Isaacs will be among the presenters at BAFTA LA’s 2011 Britannia Awards, set for November 30 at the Beverly Hilton. Alan Cumming is hosting the ceremony, which will air December 4 on TV Guide Network. The already announced 2011 honorees are Warren Beatty (Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film), Helena Bonham Carter (Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year), John Lasseter (Cubby Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment), Ben Stiller (Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy), and David Yates (John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing).
UPDATE: Liam Neeson and Luc Besson have come to a meeting of the minds and they have worked out the scheduling snafu that made him iffy for Taken 2. Neeson’s reps at CAA are now closing the deal for Neeson to reprise what has become a signature role. Production is now being eyed for year end or beginning of 2012. Neeson will stick to his plan to take the rest of the year off, after completing the Clash of the Titans sequel he’s shooting in London. He has been working almost nonstop, wrapping The Grey for Joe Carnahan and Battleship for Peter Berg.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: A fascinating drama has been playing out over the past few weeks on Taken 2, the sequel to the surprise global hit film hatched by Luc Besson that reinvigorated Liam Neeson. I’m told Besson has teamed on a script with Robert Mark Kamen, and that he’s in talks with his Transporter 3 director Olivier Megaton to direct the sequel. But he has been dealing with a huge problem: Neeson has all but withdrawn from reprising his role as Bryan Mills, the retired government operative who in the 2008 original decimated the Paris underworld to free his kidnapped daughter. The reason isn’t money, but rather scheduling: Besson wants to shoot it this year and Neeson wants to take time off. Continuing without Neeson is hard to imagine, but I’ve heard Besson has gone as far … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: One of the hottest actors this pilot season, Jason Isaacs, is off the market. After fielding more than half-dozen offers, Isaacs has settled on the lead role in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen and 20th Century Fox TV. In addition to starring, Isaacs will serve as producer on the project, described as an Inception-style thriller. It centers on a cop (Isaacs) who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities. The casting of Isaacs lifts the contingency on the pilot, exec produced/run by former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon. 20th TV-based Tim Minear serves as a consulting producer.
REM brings Brit Isaacs back to 20th TV where he starred in the drama pilot for Fox Pleading Guilty last season. Additionally, he developing and producing a drama project at 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21. Safe, set up at FX, is being written by Chris Gerolmo.
Brotherhood star Isaacs had been in demand since the Showtime drama ended in 2008. He was first pursued in the 2009 pilot season but was unavailable because of commitments to the Harry Potter movies, in which he plays Lucius Malfoy. Last pilot season, he received eight offers and went with Pleading Guilty. Isaacs, repped by Gersh, the Collective, U.K.’s Independent Talent and attorney Karl Austen, will next be seen in the final Harry Potter movie and the Taylor Lautner starrer Abduction.
EXCLUSIVE: Paul King, whose first film Bunny and the Bull was picked up by IFC for the States, is directing this adaptation of Eva Ibbotson’s children’s book for BBC Films. A writer himself, King has adapted Paddington Bear for Harry Potter producer David Heyman and Warner Bros. Before that he directed the cult BBC comedy series The Mighty Boosh, which is also being turned into a movie. Enda Walsh (Chatroom) is writing the screenplay for Island of the Aunts, a Road Dahl-esque story about three aunts who go around kidnapping unhappy children and bringing them back to an island where they will be loved. This BBC Films project marks the second time Ibbotson, who died last October, Read More »
It is the end of January, and pilot offers to actors are going out fast and furious. Like every year, there are several actors that attract the lion’s share of offers. In the leading man category, two 40-something actors, Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler and Brotherhood alum Jason Isaacs, are red-hot, fielding a half-dozen offers each.
Among the ladies, Ugly Betty alumna Becki Newton is once again in demand despite the fact that her pilot gig could be in second position to her current series, NBC’s midseason dramedy Love Bites whose prospects are dim with a cut-back order and no premiere date set. (Love Bites co-star Greg Grunberg already booked the lead in the A&E pilot Big Mike in first position). Also sitting on multiple offers is Gilmore Girls alumna Krysten Ritter. Casting directors on several projects are also sending out feelers to Christina Applegate, who just gave birth to her first child. Other TV actors lured to return to series TV are Debra Messing, Jason Bateman, James Spader, Daniel Sunjata, Ali Larter, Lizzy Caplan and Katee Sackhoff.
As usual, pilot casting directors’ wish lists include a lot of movie … Read More »