HBO News Blog

THE CORRECTIONS out at HBO

By Jef Dinsmore on May 1, 2012 to HBO News

HBO has put a halt to a series based on the 2001 novel by Jonathan Franzen called The Corrections. A pilot was shot in February of this year by the team of Noah Baumbach and Scott Rudin and boasted a star-studded cast. But due to the complexities of the plot the show couldn’t materialize.

The piece revolved around a troubled Midwestern couple, the Lamberts, played in the pilot by Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest and their adult children portrayed by Ewan McGregor (Chip), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Denise)  and Bruce Norris (Gary). Through the course of the plot we trace the lives of this family from the mid-20th century to “one last Christmas” together near the turn of the millennium. The way, however, Franzen threaded the narrative within that timeline led to the problems manning the series. HBO brass seemed to like the series, according to reports, and the performances but the decision came down to adapting the book’s difficult narrative. What works well on the page does not easily translate to the screen. It sounds a bit like the style of story-telling used in ABC’s LOST with plotlines going in different directions and each having their own set of flashbacks that could confuse continuity. From what I gather the narrative follows four different plot lines. There is the story of each of the three children and a separate one of the parents. They all deal with their own lives and the “corrections” they must make in them. They rejoin as a family during that cryptic “one last Christmas” mentioned.

Now, I have commented here on HBO Watch before about how I thought this concept would go to series and fill the slot left by LUCK’s cancellation. I made that guess having never read the novel or even that much news on the project. That prediction was solely made based on the fact that it was an award-winning novel, it had a solid cast & production crew attached to it and a pilot was already in the can. Good thing I didn’t bet anything; it is not going to happen. It is a work proved not logical for screen adaptation. I think I will have to hold off on my predictions for a while after all I didn’t see TRUE DETECTIVES being green-lit at all.

  • Carl

    With True Detectives ready to take over Luck’s timeslot next January, The Corrections became expendable. It certainly had a terrific cast, which made me think it was a near lock to go to series prior to TD’s pickup. But having read the book, I really don’t think four seasons of ten episodes was the proper way to adapt it, which HBO obviously saw. I honestly think it’d work much better as a miniseries. I wish they had gone that route instead.

    • Yeah I think the mini would have been better too. I’d pay money to see this pilot though haha. Maybe.. just maybe.. the show didnt work on screen? We’ll probably never know.

  • HBO has nearly already greenlit True Detective. They’re in final talks to finalize the deal, witch is already in way in bay. Nic Pizzolatto is signed for HBO already, and HBO loves both actors from before. Its a done deal, because HBO wont use that sum of money for something they dont want to air. TD is bought as a series, not a pilot or something that needs to be green-lighted. It`s a straight up series that goes fast into production with main cast, producers and episodes written already done.

    They already lost one opportunity with the Kevin Spacy/David Fincher-project House of Cards. They wont do that again.

    • Jefd

      I actually have a post ready for the Editor’s OK about TRUE DETECTIVES coming up later today. Watch for it.

      • That is the same thing i have read deadline.com. Use deadline.com, it`s an more serious page when it comes to projects at HBO. Some projects tends to drop on HBO, and deadline seems like one of the few that notices this.

  • Tara

    This news makes me sad. The cast is amazing and I was interested to see what would come out of it. Darn!

    • Jefd

      It just goes to show how hard it is to predict what shows are actually going to make it to air. THE CORRECTIONS looked like it had everything going in its favor.

      I’ll do my part try to keep an eye on what is in development and bring it to HBO Watch .










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