HBO News Blog

HBO Films: THE CASUAL VACANCY & HBO Films: BESSIE Debut In April and May 2015

By Jef Dinsmore on Mar 13, 2015 to HBO Films

J.K. Rowling's Casual Vacancy











If you have been paying attention to HBOWatch at all you should already know that both J. K. Rowling and Queen Latifah have been filming their respective projects. Well, now premiere dates have been set for both and HBOWatch will be there to review them.

The HBO Miniseries/BBC adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s global bestseller THE CASUAL VACANCY centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty façade, however, is a town at war, with conflicts between rich and poor, parents and children, wives and husbands, teachers and pupils. The cast includes Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and Julia McKenzie, and introduces Abigail Lawrie. Parts 1 and 2 debut back-to-back WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 at 8:00pm followed by the debut of Part 3 the next night, THURSDAY, APRIL 30 at 8:00pm.

This Rowling adaptation came to our attention way back on April of 2014. We offered up speculation and casting as the production progressed until 02.05.15 when we knew it was going to premiere in April. Now with that exact date announced you can plan accordingly.  Here is the trailer as it appeared on the BBC.

Queen Latifah has personified the life of the legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, also known as “The Empress of the Blues.” That production, HBO Films: BESSIE now has a premiere date. It will debut SATURDAY, MAY 16 at 8:00pm.

HBOWatch first heard of the project, based on a Chris Albertson biography, back on 06.14.14. That followed up actually a month later with the official Press Release. As stated there the work is directed by Dee Rees, from a screenplay by Rees and Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois with a story by Rees and Horton Foote. The film is executive produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel.

On 01.20.15, once we got photos and quotes from Queen Latifah we posted again. Most of the information about the HBO Film presentation remained the same throughout and we never got much deviating off of that script. The only movie images from the 1920’s set movie came our way via the 2014 Yearender video. You can check out a Photo gallery over at, though. Plus, here is what Queen Latifah had to say:

HBOWatch is expected to review both HBO Films presentations upon their respective debuts.  

  • Eleonora Iafano

    Totally looking forward to watching Bessie in May. I don’t know much about JK Rowling (other than my nieces buying her Harry Potter books). Intrigued about The Casual Vacancy. I may just go to the library and get the book before it airs.

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