The Blacklist star James Spader may have been snubbed for an Emmy nomination this year, but he got a lot of love today from the Comic-Con crowd. The actor drew a roar from the more than 1,000 fans in the packed room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center. “It’s been quite a journey, this craziness — and the craziness really started last year right here at Comic-Con,” Spader said after the applause died down. Then again, one year after his debut at the confab and with a breakout show success in the crime drama, the man who plays former super-fugitive Raymond Reddington is a geekfest multitasker this time round thanks to his part as the primary villain in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron pic – which got a big cheer when Spader mentioned his work on the Marvel movie.
Not that the panel didn’t cut to the Blacklist chase. There was a big casting announcement with the revelation that Mary-Louise Parker would be joining the NBC series in Season 2 in a recurring role as a character named Naomi Highland. EP/creator Jon Bokenkamp didn’t reveal any more details of the former Weeds star’s Blacklist involvement, but he described the character as “completely tied to Reddington.”
Then there is the question of relationships on a show all about unknown relationships. “The question of who is Reddington to Elizabeth Keen is the central conceit to the show,: responded Bokenkamp to questions of whether Reddington is the rookie FBI agent’s father, “but we’re really not going to answer that.” From burn marks to pocket photos and the secrets of a dying man, the May 12 Season 1 finale set up a lot for the show’s return – especially about who Reddington really is and what his relationship with Keen might be. Spader himself had some thoughts on the big question. “The real relationship is their present relationship,” the lead actor said. “Destinations aren’t enough. The ultimate answer should be that looking backwards.” Read More »
Peter Sarsgaard has been cast as the lead in NBC’s The Slap. Also cast in a lead role in the 8-hour miniseries, based on the 2011 Australian short-run series, is Weeds‘ Mary-Louise Parker. The Slap is described as a complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. The seemingly minor domestic dispute pulls the family apart, begins to expose long-held secrets, and ignites a lawsuit that challenges the core American values of all who are pulled into it.
Sarsgaard will play Hector, a husband and father who loves his wife and family but shows signs of weakness when he finds himself succumbing to the advances of his wife’s teenaged receptionist during his own party. Hector’s cousin is the one who slaps the child. Parker will play Anouk, a close friend of Hector’s who’s the head writer on a TV show and is now dating the younger leading man. Sarsgaard, repped by CAA, Jon Rubenstein at Authentic, and Jodi Peikoff, and Parker are the first actors cast in The Slap, written by Jon Robin Baitz and to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (the first two hours) for Universal TV and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, producer of the original series. Baitz, Cholodenko and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres executive produce with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold. Read More »
Mary-Louise Parker‘s reunion with NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt is now official as the former Weeds star has closed a deal to topline NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Feed Me. The project, from veteran producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, received a pilot green light last month based on Parker’s intention to star in it. Following the end of Weeds, which Greenblatt put on the air while running Showtime, NBC had been pursing the actress for multiple projects, and Feed Me was the script she responded to. Talks with Parker had already commenced when Feed Me was picked up to pilot three weeks ago, now they have been successfully completed. Written by Sally Robinson, who penned Lifetime’s successful Steel Magnolias remake, Feed Me is described as a comedic exploration of adult intimacy and desire that centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and the restaurant they run together. And when daughter Emma’s husband has an affair, they circle the wagons to fiercely protect one of their own. Robinson, Thomas and Witt executive produce for Universal TV. Parker serves as a producer.
UPDATED: NBC has given a late pilot order to Feed Me, a single-camera comedy from veteran producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas’ Witt/Thomas Prods (Blossom, Beauty And The Beast and its CW reboot). NBC had been pursuing former Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker for multiple pilots. This is the script she responded to, helping it get a green light while the actress’ deal is being worked out. Feed Me would reunite Parker with NBC topper Bob Greenblatt who cast her in another dark comedy, Weeds, while at Showtime. Written by Sally Robinson, who penned Lifetime’s hugely successful Steel Magnolias remake, Feed Me is described as a comedic exploration of adult intimacy and desire that centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and the restaurant they run together. And when daughter Emma’s husband has an affair, they circle the wagons to fiercely protect one of their own. Robinson, Thomas and Witt executive produce for Universal TV.
The Weeds veteran is heading back to Broadway this fall. Mary-Louise Parker will star as Elizabeth Gaesling, the newly widowed matriarch of a family that gathers at their home in upstate New York for a hunting party, in Sharr White’s WWI family drama The Snow Geese. MTC and MCC Theater’s world premiere co-production opens October 24 for a limited 11-week engagement at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, where Parker earned a Tony nomination for her turn in 2004′s Reckless. The last time Parker and director Daniel Sullivan collaborated on Broadway, both nabbed Tonys for their 2000 production of David Auburn’s Proof. On the big screen, Parker next appears in two summer actioners facing off July 19: Universal’s R.I.P.D. and Summit’s RED 2. She is repped by WME.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Weeds, creator-executive producer Jenji Kohan and cast members (Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould, Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk) were unwilling to reveal any details about how the show’s final season will unfold.
“We’re shooting the finale right now, I hope it works,” Kohan said. Parker said she cried when she read the script.
Kohan did say there’s an advantage to knowing this is the show’s final season: “We knew it would be the end just before the season started,” she said. “I was very sad about that, it’s been great. It’s hard to let go of a good thing.”
Added Kohan, “Once we got the news, I thought, oh shit, so many times we’ve written our (season) ending not knowing what is coming next.” This time, she said the finale will not end with a cliffhanger and that “ultimately, it’s a show about family.” Read More »
Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames and James Woods have joined the cast of Jamesy Boy, the feature debut of director/co-writer Trevor White. Filming is set to begin March 4 in Baltimore on the pic, which tells the story of a young man who goes from suburban street gangs to a maximum-security prison surrounded by hardened criminals. In prison, James fosters an unlikely friendship with a convicted murderer Read More »
In a move that’s not exactly surprising, Summit Entertainment brought back Jon and Erich Hoeber to write another installment of Red, the overachieving Robert Schwentke-directed action film that had been widely spurned around town because studios were nervous building such a film around an AARP-aged cast. Insiders at Summit confirm a report that the scribes have made a deal, though Schwentke and stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Mary Louise Parker still have to be dealt with.
At the same time, Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly told Austrian publication Krone he’s already trying to get his film career on track and is looking for age-appropriate roles. “In the future I have to adapt my roles to my age. Clint Eastwood also has done it in the same way. Extreme fighting or shooting is not possible anymore.” Ah-nuld is resuscitating two projects he has held onto since the 1990s. One is With Wings As Eagles, which Randall Wallace wrote based on his father-in-law’s recollection of a German soldier ordered to execute American prisoners in WWII who instead helped them escape. It’s similar to the good-Nazi terrain Tom Cruise covered in Valkyrie. Schwarzenegger almost got it made before calling off to take time off for a health issue in the late 1990s. The other script drawing speculation is Crusade, a pricey period pic with a script by Walon Green … Read More »
Summit Entertainment joins the phalanx of studios bringing film footage and star casts to the geek altar that is Comic-Con. Summit, which for the past two years has brought its Twilight Saga cast to the event, this time herds the cast of its two upcoming action offerings, Red and Drive Angry 3D. Red stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban and Mary Louise Parker, director Robert Schwentke and graphic novel writer Warren Ellis will debut the film’s trailer and appear on a panel on July 22. The following day, Summit will assemble the Drive Angry 3D cast of Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner and director Patrick Lussier will debut footage from the 3D shot film about a vengeful father who hunts down the people who killed his family.
Among the other studios that are planning big events at Comic-Con, Disney is highlighting Tron Legacy, and is expected to mount a big spectacle (last year they recreated Flynn’s Arcade, which figured in the original film and the sequel); Sony will make a fuss about The Green Hornet; Warner Bros is expected to vamp the Zack Snyder-directed Sucker Punch and Harry Potter; Universal will be pressing the case for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World; Paramount has the Marvel Studios pic Thor. DreamWorks Animation is expected to show something from Megamind, and other studios are still making last minute plans for the San Diego event that begins July 21.
Richard Dreyfuss has joined Showtime’s Weeds as a recurring. In at least 4 episodes of the dark comedy’s upcoming 6th season, he will play what the network describes as “an unexpected character from Nancy Botwin’s past.” Season 6 of Weeds, which premieres on August 16, features Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) and family on the lam after Shane (Alexander Gould) bopped Mexican VIP Pilar to death with a croquet mallet. Dreyfuss joins previously announced guest stars for next season Linda Hamilton, Peter Stormare, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, as well as returning guest stars Alanis Morissette and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Oscar winner Dreyfuss made his full-time series debut with CBS’ The Education of Max Bickford. On Showtime, he previously starred as Alexander Haig in the 2002 docudrama The Day Reagan Was Shot.
Summit Entertainment has just released its new trailer for Red, the Robert Schwentke-directed film that stars Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich and opens October 15th: