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HBO Development Slate: THE NORMAL HEART Sequel; a “Mom comedy”; Lady Day & More

By Jef Dinsmore on Feb 1, 2015 to HBO News

dev-logoThis writer is starting off 2015 with the housekeeping of some HBO information that has been lingering around. Consider this a Slate Lite piece as there is not any over-the-top excitement here, but some fun stuff to report as HBO keeps courting talent.   

  • Larry Kramer Working on THE NORMAL HEART Sequel

Right as the Holidays were ramping up playwright Larry Kramer announced that there would be a sequel to THE NORMAL HEART. Since there is already a sequel to the award-winning play (The Destiny of Me) the sequel he is writing is clearly a screenplay continuing the story from the HBO miniseries. There is obviously more story to be told about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s and the characters we saw in THE NORMAL HEART. Mr. Kramer has stated –

“I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first pass. It starts around the end of The Normal Heart in 1984. "The Normal Heart" New York ScreeningMark Ruffalo, who we hope will repeat his performance, will have to play Ned at a few times in his life: at the time of The Normal Heart, in the middle where he gets sick, and today.”

Ruffalo’s character, Ned Weeks (Kramer’s alter ego), clearly has more story to tell. Another character with more is Tommy Boatwright, played by Jim Parsons. Of him Kramer said –

“He becomes a more important character in the sequel, as he was in my real life.”

Ryan Murphy is expected to direct and all the actors from the first endeavor that survive into the sequel are hoped to be involved. It all makes sense as THE NORMAL HEART was an award-winning movie and HIV/AIDS didn’t just give up and go away and neither did Larry Kramer.



  • Laura Kightlinger Working on a “Mom comedy”

Laura K. was a writer and occasional performer for Saturday Night Live and also wrote a memoir entitled “Quick Shots of People_LauraKightlingerFalse Hope: A Rejection Collection.” HBO has now taken her wit and work under consideration with a single camera comedy called QUICK SHOTS OF FALSE HOPE. She will team up with Max Mutchnick to flesh out the idea. The premise offers a “retro-set mom comedy” all about the hardships she faces. One description states it is about a 1970s-era single mom and her ongoing quest to find a husband, while still sleeping with her daughter’s married father. Ouch, it sounds like she has issues.

Both Kightlinger and Mutchnick have experience with comedy based work as they teamed up for Will & Grace and with their respective companies have had production deals with Warner Bros. Television. Kightlinger has even already appeared on HBO as Tina the wife of Louie’s best friend on Louis C. K.’s LUCKY LOUIE.  

The concept came about via Max M.’s first look deal with Warner Bros., which is, of course, the parent company of HBO. He must have touched base with his one-time partner after seeing and/or reading her memoir and thus reunited to possibly bring the concept to HBO. We will wait and see what happens, but a 1970’s set show could be retro-cool.     

(Source: Deadline)


  • LADY DAY Will See the Light of Day on HBO

HBO is known for taking theatrical works and shaping them into wonderful HBO Films experiences. We can ANGELS IN LadyDayAMERICA, THE NORMAL HEART and WIT are a few that come to mind. Now it seems another Broadway work will get the cinematic treatment – LADY DAY. Audra McDonald recently concluded a run of playing legendary chanteuse Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. “  It was a Tony-winning performance for her in 2014 and HBO will capture it in front of a live audience. Our source states that –

“The cable network will air a recording of a live performance of “Lady Day” that’s filming this month at New Orleans’ Cafe Brasil with a live audience. An exact air date has yet to be set.”

Note the format change for this work. We have already mentioned that telepictures have been filmed of plays, but LADY DAY is shot differently. It will not be made into a movie but be an airing of a filmed performance complete with an audience in the theater. That harkens back to the 1980’s when HBO aired filmed theatre performances for the channel like, CAMELOT with Richard Harris, BUS STOP with Margot Kidder, SHERLOCK HOLMES with Frank Langella and VANITIES with Annette O’Toole. Hey, maybe that could be an HBO Classic post some time.

Maybe, if this filmed stage performance of LADY DAY does well, HBO can return to that format more often in the future. I wouldn’t mind that.  Here is McDonald’s Tony Awards Performance:

(Source: Variety)


  •  Helena Bonham Carter Cast in CODES OF CONDUCT

As reported last October Steve McQueen is working on the concept CODES OF CONDUCT as a potential HBO series. In the latest development British actress Helena Bonham Carter as now signed on for the project. She will play a divorced mother of two grown boys now living life on her own terms. All that changes when she meets up with Beverly Snow, the show’s lead People_HelanaBonhamCartercharacter.

Carter, of such movies as The King’s Speech and Alice In Wonderland will surely portray a rich and interesting character. Actress Rebecca Hall, of Iron Man 3 and Vicky Cristina Barecelona, also has a role as a billionaire’s daughter who is a contemporary rival to young Mr. Snow.

Again, CODES OF CONDUCT is all about a young black man, Beverly Snow, making his way and leaving his mark on NYC high society. In that high-priced and high-stylized world there is an unwritten code of conduct that is expected of you. Does Beverly have it and just how does he affect and/or interact with Bonham Carter and Hall’s characters? Surely we should find out as Steve McQueen, creator and director of Twelve Years A Slave, has a great chance of getting this show to air. We will wait and see.  

(Source: Globe and Mail)


  • Producer Ash Atalla Snags First Look Deal with HBO People_AshAtalla

British producer Ash Atalla might not be well-known in America, but his contributions to U. K. telly are noted. Now, with his production company Roughcut Television, he has been offered a first-look deal for two years by HBO.

Mr. Atalla is already serving as executive producer on the Sarah Silverman project in development and this deal opens him up to other options at the network. Across the pond he is noted for running such shows as The Office, The IT Crowd, Cuckoo and World’s Craziest Fools, all comedies across the British dial. We will see what develops.

(Source: Deadline)


That is it for now. Be on the lookout for more Development Slate and hot HBO news in the future.


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