The Television Critics Association hosts two big panel discussions a year with network leaders, showrunners and stars to excite them about the upcoming slate of shows. HBO had its turn at the Winter Panel recently and below are snippets from that event. Naturally, everyone involved in their respective shows showed praise and hype for what is about to come to the HBO screen of your choice.
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, both leads and executive producers from the upcoming limited series BIG LITTLE LIES, showed pride for their project. Kidman said,
“This piece for me was the story of women that I know, and it was a way which we could go to other women with five great roles that were complicated and deserve to be told. It’s very rare to find five roles in one piece that we’d all jump at a chance to play.”
Witherspoon followed with,
“It’s a unique privilege to be able to come to other women with a piece of material that I feel deeply proud of and excited for. These are the kinds of things that shift consciousness.”
Also proud of the work is David Kelly, famed TV writer of shows like the recent Goliath and the classic Picket Fences. He noted,
“The easy part was that I could stay faithful to the story,” Kelley said. “I loved the book and the characters. The architecture was there and the character development was there, the world was there. What was challenging was living up to the book and the complications of some of those characters.”
There you go, take a good book, write a spot-on screenplay, get some empowering women on board and cast it strong. Plus a good director helps. It is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and additional roles are taken by Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz, James Tupper and Kathryn Newton. Look for this limited series debuting February 19.
Also look for THE YOUNG POPE now. It just debuted on January 15 with Jude Law, Diane Keaton and James Cromwell. Both Law and the work’s producer/director Paolo Sorrentino were present to talk about their Pope for the ages, Lenny Belardo. They focused more on the theme of the show. The director said,
“It is possible that, after Pope Francis, the next pope could be somebody like the character. This is the thing many experts in the church told me, and so the idea was to do a next pope, the future pope.”
And if you have seen it so far, this guy is quite a piece of work. Law elaborated,
“Maybe the one thing that differentiates him…is he’s not a liar. He’s full of contradictions…but he doesn’t lie. He’s a man of conviction from his own standpoint and he’s trying to understand his heart and his faith. Imagine getting the top job and having a direct line to the ‘person’ who has seen him through his lonely existence, which is God, and the line is busy.”
Diane Keaton stars as Sister Mary, a nun from the U.S. now living in Vatican City. The cast also includes Silvio Orlando, Scott Shepherd, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara, Ludivine Sagnier, Toni Bertorelli and James Cromwell. Sorrentino said he’s working on a second season.
If t wasn’t for the tease we had in the “Coming in 2017” clip we might have forgotten all about HBO Films: THE WIZARD OF LIES. HBO made sure it was front and center at the TCA event with a brief panel. The movie is all about Ponzi mastermind Bernie Madoff and how it all went down. It stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. Since we can offer it here is our first look at the teaser that aired:
People from all sides of this story were at the TCA. Seated were Robert De Niro, director Barry Levinson, executive producer Jane Rosenthal and New York Times reporter Diana Henriques, who wrote the book the film used as source material. Levinson had praise for HBO by saying
“[HBO] is willing “to take a certain risk” to get inside of the story, so it’s not simply the bells and whistles of it but looks into character behavior. Theatrically, I don’t know if we could do this; HBO is at the forefront of a promising time in filmmaking.”
Their main pitch was the compelling and multi-layered schemer as a great character to have played out on screen making us and the critics await the upcoming film.
As the days go on we will drop some other news from the TCA, but there were no big announcements. There was a bit of GAME OF THRONES news (forthcoming) but nothing shattering about the sequel. And there was nothing about the Spring return of THE LEFTOVERS or when CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM Season 9 was going to be ready. But we do hope you are excited for what they are offering up. Check back and we will throw out a few more TCA tidbits in the days ahead.