As expected, two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange has followed her agent Brian Swardstrom to UTA from WME. She formally signed this morning. Lange is currently Golden Globe-nominated for her role on American Horror Story and she begins production in February on the Rupert Wyatt-directed The Gambler, opposite Mark Wahlberg. She continues to be represented by Jason Weinberg at Untitled Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: The American Horror Story star has put her cards on the table for The Gambler. Jessica Lange will play the rich and ostentatious mother of Mark Wahlberg’s in-debt character in the Paramount remake of the 1974 pic. Wahlberg will reprise the role James Caan played in the original of a college professor whose gambling addiction takes over his life even after his debts lead to some nasty new friends. Talks for two-time Oscar winner Lange to get on board with the movie have been going on for a couple of months, as I reported back in October. Brie Lawson is also in the Rupert Wyatt-directed pic from a script from William Monahan. Joining The Gambler comes at the end of a high profile month for Lange. On a career second life rarely seen in Hollywood, the actress recently received both Golden Globes and the SAG Awards nominations for her role as the Supreme witch Fiona Goode on the current AHS: Coven season of the FX horror franchise. Lange, who also published her first children’s book It’s About A Little Bird in October, has previously won an Emmy plus GG and SAG awards for the performances on past seasons of the show. And there could be more – last month FX reupped AHS for a fourth season with Lange. The actress is repped by WME …
Four episodes into American Horror Story: Coven run, FX has picked up a fourth season of the horror franchise. Star Jessica Lange, who has been the center of the show since first cycle, is set to return as her current contract is through Season 4. She recently suggested publicly that she would likely depart after that. Because of the show’s format, featuring different stories and characters each season, it is unclear yet who else will come back but co-creator Ryan Murphy tends to find new characters for his core group of actors every year. “Put simply, Ryan Murphy is a master television producer,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said. “Every year, they create a riveting and brilliant new miniseries. AHS: Coven is the best yet, and I have no doubt that the next installment will be even better.” Four episodes in, Coven has far surpassed the ratings of both of its AHS predecessors, Murder House (2011) and Asylum (2012). Season-to date, AHS: Coven is averaging 7.74 million Total Viewers, 5.46 million Adults 18-49 and 3.14 million Adults 18-34. That is up +77% in Total Viewers, +67% in 18-49 and +60% in 18-34 over Murder House. Coven is outpacing Asylum by +83% in Total Viewers, +71% in 18-49, and +68% in 18-34. Remarkably, Coven, toplined by mature actress Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett, is easily on pace to set a record as the highest-rated adults 18-34 program in FX history. Episode 5 airs tonight.
AwardsLine Editor Christy Grosz, Managing Editor Anthony D’Alessandro and contributors Paul Brownfield and Thomas J. McLean assist with Deadline’s TV coverage.
Lead acting mini/movie nominee Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Asylum) and supporting acting hopefuls Sarah Paulson (also for American Horror Story: Asylum) and Scott Bakula (Behind The Candelabra) share thoughts on their characters, shows and nominations.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to American Horror Story: Asylum?
Lange: I have to admit that the horror genre is not something I am a fan of. Really, what drew me to it was the description of the character and what I knew (creator Ryan Murphy) would write for me, what I would be given to play. So that, more than anything, was why I signed on for the first season. Then, along the way, we started talking about the story for the next season, which I found even more interesting, because of the overarching themes, which seemed more powerful to me, dealing with things that I love delving into—madness and a kind of failed life, retribution, redemption.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Get ready for the Michael Douglas awards parade. First up: The Primetime Emmys. To be sure, he’s the overwhelming favorite for this year’s movie/miniseries lead actor for his universally acclaimed performance as Liberace in Behind The Candelabra. He was so good that it overshadowed even the work of a superstar like Matt Damon in the same film (where he played the pianist’s young lover Scott Thorson). Al Pacino also is nominated for his portrayal of convicted murderer Phil Spector in the biopic of the same name, along with Benedict Cumberbatch for the mini Parade’s End and Toby Jones for the Alfred Hitchcock drama The Girl. Notably, all five nominees are honored for HBO projects. On the actress side, Jessica Lange is up for lead (instead of last year’s supporting) in FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, which puts her in the unusual position of having the opportunity to win Emmys in back-to-back years for the same series in different categories. However, Lange’s foes for movie/mini lead actress have a combined 25 nominations and 7 wins to their credit. Two of them are chasing their first victories: Elisabeth Moss for Sundance Channel’s Top Of The Lake and Sigourney Weaver for the since-canceled USA Network mini Political Animals. Then there’s Laura Linney, also switching categories for Showtime’s The Big C: Hereafter; and Helen Mirren as lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden in Phil Spector.
TCA: Kathy Bates Tackles Serial Killer Socialite, Angela Bassett Plays Voodoo Priestess In ‘American Horror Story: Coven’
Kathy Bates will play Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer Marie Delphine LaLaurie in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Coven debuting in October. Bates’ character was a big wheel in New Orleans until a fire broke out in her house in 1834 and people responding to help discovered bound and tortured slaves inside. Angela Bassett, meanwhile, will play Marie Laveau, a Louisiana Creole and Voodoo priestess who also lived in New Orleans in the 19th century. Jessica Lange will play a witch named Fiona, and Sarah Paulson will play her daughter, Cordelia. And no, it’s no coincidence Paulson’s character has the same name as King Lear’s good daughter — the one who winds up dead after Dad goes mad, AHS exec producer Tim Minear told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 this afternoon. Minear appeared onstage with Lange, Paulson, Bates and Bassett, and noted this is just part of the Coven cast, which he described as a “murders’ row of actresses.” Other names reportedly signed on for the coming season include Patti LuPone, Francis Conroy, Gabourney Sidibe, and Lily Rabe.
EXCLUSIVE: Producer-distributor LD Entertainment is planning a fall festival run and a September 27, 2013 release for Therese, directed and written by Charlie Stratton and starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange and Oscar Isaac. An Oscar campaign is also planned for the romantic thriller based on the Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin, which is set in the lower depths of 1860s Paris. Therese (Olsen) is a sexually repressed woman trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin Camille (Felton) by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Lange). After she meets her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent (Isaac), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences. Shirley Henderson, John Kavanagh, Mackenzie Crook and Matt Lucas co-star. LD’s Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon produced the pic with William Horberg. Exclusive Media is repping international rights.
UPDATED: American Horror Story co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy lifted the veil a bit on the upcoming third installment of the FX horror series. At a screening of the season finale tonight, he confirmed that the storyline in season three will be a romance set in modern times, and that Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will join star Jessica Lange on the next cycle. All three appeared both in American Horror: Asylum, whose finale airs next Wednesday, and the original American Horror Story.
FX has picked up a third installment of its horror anthology franchise American Horror Story with a 13-episode order. Production of the untitled new cycle of AHS will begin next summer and premiere in the fall of 2013. FX and AHS creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s are keeping mum on details about the next incarnation but announced that, like was the case with American Horror Story and American Horror Story: Asylum, many of the actors will return in different roles next year, including star Jessica Lange.
Matt Webb Mitovich is Editor-At-Large at TV Line.
Constance Langdon is not a neighbor you want to borrow a cup of sugar from, and you most definitely should beware when she comes bearing home-baked gifts (or, for that matter, “sweet breads”). And yet as portrayed by Jessica Lange, who came into American Horror Story with two Oscars and an Emmy on her mantel, the Harmon family’s oft unwelcome visitor did not repel, she but regaled us. Thus far, Lange has netted a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her first venture into series television — might another Emmy make her housewarming complete?
AWARDSLINE: When you first started seeing the American Horror Story scripts, did you suspect the role of Constance could be Emmy-worthy?
LANGE: I didn’t really know what to think. We were shooting really fast, so I don’t think anybody was thinking about the outcome as much as the process of getting through it. This was the first time I’d ever done this kind of television — a miniseries — and not being all that familiar with the world of TV, I didn’t have any frame of reference. So when the performances started getting recognition, yes, it did kind of surprise me. I mean, I knew how good the writing was, and I knew there was a great deal that I could do with it — it’s a big character with a huge range of emotions.
RELATED: EMMYS: Movie/Miniseries Overview
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar Isaac has been set to star opposite Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange and Tom Felton in Therese. Olsen plays the title character, who is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly first cousin, Camille (Felton), and living with his mother (Lange). She begins an illicit love affair with Camille’s friend Laurent, which leads to a tragic outcome for all three. Isaac will play that role. Charlie Stratton adapted the Emile Zola novel Therese Raquin, and will direct. It’s being produced and will be distributed by LD Entertainment, with William Horberg and Mickey Liddell are producing.
Though his character had an early exit in the Nic Refn-directed Drive, Isaac just played the lead in Inside Llewyn Davis, the film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. He’ll next be seen in The Bourne Legacy, and Ten Year, which he starred in an ensemble that includes Channing Tatum and Anthony Mackie. Isaac wrote an original song and performed it in the movie, and also did the singing in the Coen brothers fllm. He’s repped by UTA, Inspire Entertainment and SMGSB.
SAG Awards Live Blog, SAG Awards Winners List
In the TV series categories, SAG members largely stuck to their choices from last year, repeating 5 of the 6 series winners from 2011. Alec Baldwin and Betty White appear primed to “own” the lead comedy actor and actress titles for as long as they’re on TV, which, given the fact that Baldwin is signed for another season of 30 Rock and that White shows no signs of slowing down at 90, could be awhile. Baldwin extended his record to 6 consecutive wins, one for every season of 30 Rock to date. White is also at a perfect batting average, scoring 2 consecutive trophies for 2 years on Hot In Cleveland. In total, this is White’s third consecutive SAG Award as she made the unusual transition from a lifetime achievement award in 2010 to regular SAG trophies in 2011 and 2012. Baldwin and White’s enormous popularity among fellow actors means that ABC’s Modern Family, which repeated as best comedy series ensemble, is yet to nab an individual acting prize for its cast.
Also frozen in time were the best drama series ensemble and the best actor in a drama …
(WARNING: STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS) The status of American Horror Story leads Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott and the Golden Globe-nominated Jessica Lange remains in flux in the wake of the FX horror hour’s season one finale last night. But if Britton, McDermott, Lange or supporting player Frances Conroy return to the show for a second campaign, it will be as entirely different characters in a brand new storyline featuring a fully (or at least mostly) new cast. Co-creator and exec producer Ryan Murphy and FX president and GM John Landgraf laid out for reporters during a conference call this morning that Horror Story was packaged from the start as a seasonal anthology. “The (haunted) house is done,” Murphy stressed. “Every season of the show will be a different haunting. That’s always been the plan. Every season of the show will have a beginning, middle and end, and all new characters and setting.” But that doesn’t mean that this year’s performers won’t be back. It’s just that McDermott and Britton won’t be starring as Ben and Vivien Harmon, respectively, nor Lange as creepy neighbor Constance Langdon. It would have been tough to pull that off, anyway, since the Harmons all were dead by the time the season drew to a close.
“We’re still negotiating with a handful (of the cast members) about returning,” Murphy said. “We’re also meeting with new actors whom we’ve targeted roles for. I will say that Connie and Dylan will …
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
During a panel for his new thriller drama series for FX, American Horror Story, Murphy confessed a dark family secret that may have led to his fascination with horror: “My grandmother would force me, even when I was sobbing and screaming, to watch Dark Shadows,” he said. “And then when I was bad, I had to watch The Waltons.”
Murphy and fellow American Horror Story co-creator Brad Falchuck said that the present cast and characters would not necessarily only be around for the first 13 episodes as has been speculated. And they assured their audience that many of the questions raised in the pilot episode would be answered fairly quickly in the second and third episodes. “(We have) a pilot that I believe has like eight cliffhangers,” Murphy said. “We had an obligation to the audience in the next two scripts to explain a lot of those things that are set up.” One of those things, he said, will be why the characters stay in the very scary 1920s California house — a phenomenon that has been spoofed a lot, why people in haunted houses in horror films and TV shows just don’t get the heck out of there. Murphy said that very important question would be answered in the third episode. As for questions about the recent controversy over the fate of some of the stars from his other series — Fox’s Glee — Murphy declined to answer those. “I’m not talking about Glee,” he said after the panel. “I’ve said everything I wanted to say about that” (See Emmy Q&A: Ryan Murphy About ‘Glee’ and ‘Glee’s Ryan Murphy Talks For First Time About Spinoff & Firings Missteps.)
EXCLUSIVE: In a major casting coup for their FX drama pilot American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have tapped Jessica Lange to star in a lead role opposite Connie Britton. This marks the first foray into TV series for the two-time Oscar winner.
The premise of American Horror Story is under wraps, but a breakdown for the pilot listed two main characters: Ben Harmon, a sensitive therapist, and Vivien Harmon (Britton), his gorgeous wife who is a force to be reckoned with. Lange will play their nosy neighbor. Murphy and Falchuk are now rewriting the script to expand the role for Lange, turning it into a full-fledged third lead. In the pilot, Lange also joins Denis O’Hare, who plays Larry the burn guy, while the role of Ben is yet to be cast.
Director Rodrigo Cortes has found his followup to Buried, attaching Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver to star in the psychological thriller Red Lights. Cortes wrote the script. I saw Buried at its premiere screening and thought Ryan Reynolds and Cortes pulled off quite a feat, but the film unfortunately seems to have gotten a decent burial with a tiny release by Lionsgate. The film so far has grossed just over $600,000 on a high of 103 screens. Maybe Cortes will fare better pulling the action above ground with Red Lights, which starts shooting February in Spain. Weaver plays a psychologist whose study of paranormal activity leads her to investigate a world renowned psychic (De Niro)…Jessica Lange and Sam Neill have joined the cast of the Screen Gems/Spyglass romance The Vow, directed by Michael Sucsy and stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.