Development Slate: OLIVE KITTERIDGE; Sammy Davis Jr. & More


Here we go as promised with another round of the Slate. This is where we take a look at various projects is various stages of development & consideration for HBO. Only time will tell if any of these make it on the air and HBOWatch will be there when we do.   


HBO Miniseries: OLIVE KITTERIDGE is now assembling its cast. We first reported about this cinema event back on 06.07 and now we have evidence of it shaping up. Joining Frances McDormand (as Olive K.) and Richard Jenkins (as Henry K.) are John Gallagher Jr., OliveKitteridgeJesse Plemons and Zoe Kazan. The miniseries tells the story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy and Olive Kitteridge sees it all play out. Gallagher plays Christopher Kitteridge, the son of Olive and Henry; Kazan plays Denise, who works with Henry at his pharmacy and Plemons plays Jerry McCarthy, Henry’s delivery boy. They all must be involved in some serious drama in the story.

Also of note, and honestly kind of cool to come across, is whenever news from local newspapers shows up that put out casting calls for locals to appear as extras in  productions. Such was the case with this work. The Massachusetts Film Office has put out the call for extras as it prepares for OLIVE KITTERIDGE production to start near Rockport. The Salem News site has a nice little article about it. Production is getting underway and as the article points out will be wrapping in mid-November.    


  • Issa Rae ComedyIssaRae

First, we need to clarify just who Issa Rae is. She is the creator/writer/star of The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl which is a comedic web series found on Youtube. That series has two twelve-episode seasons and has gained Miss Rae notoriety as a hot Web personality and she recently got listed on Forbes “30 Under 30” list for her success. Now, HBO is interested in her ideas.  

Larry Wilmore, writer and producer of such works as The Office and The Bernie Mac Show, is teaming up with Issa Rae to create a comedy series with Rae to star. It will continue on the same theme as Rae’s web series, but it is unclear at this early stage whether they are embellishing the existing scripts or coming up with all new content and whether it will even carry the same title or not.  If this series comes to fruition than Black Americans will get some recognition on HBO as this would be a black-centric project.  


  • CANCER VIXEN still in development

  julieDelphyThis project seems to be moving slowly. We have a lead attached in Cate Blanchett but it hasn’t even been scripted yet. In fact, I almost didn’t even add this tidbit of news until I discovered who was scheduled to pen the script. Actress Julie Delphy is onboard as the scribe. We know her as Ethan Hawke’s counterpart in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.  What you might not know is that see wrote the screenplay for those last two tiles plus close to a dozen more through the years.

Delphy’s premise that she needs to work from is the memoir of Marisa Acocello Marchetto.  CANCER VIXEN is about a cartoonist for magazines like The New Yorker and Glamour with a supercharged Manhattan lifestyle who is about to get married but must re-examine her life through wit and her animation when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. It might not mmake it to the screen in a while, but when more develops we’ll be there,  


  •  Sammy Davis Jr. ProjectLeeDaniels

Again, not a lot to this news, but I think it is a cool idea. If we can make a movie about Liberace how about doing one about yet another hot entertainer from back in the day? How about a suave, hip, cool Sammy Davis Jr. biopic?  How about one of Hollywood’s exciting directors of the moment behind it?  His name is Lee Daniels.

Lee Daniels is the director behind Lee Daniel’s The Butler, which is the movie that fought for just the title ‘the Butler” and lost, but has garnered Oscar buzz already. He has voiced an interest in bringing to life the ‘60’s Rat Packer and Tommy Davidson of In Living Color fame has been rumored as a potential lead. A lot more has to happen for Daniels than just voicing interest as the rights to the Davis story still has to be addressed. We will see what happens. In the meantime you can seek out HBO Films:  THE RAT PACK from 1998 and see Don Cheadle’s Golden Globe winning performance as Sammy Davis Jr.


  •  Michael Lannan’s LOOKING

ScottbakulaAdditional casting is underway for a show that we have been tracking for a while from Michael Lannan. For the longest time the project didn’t have a name but it does now. The show is called LOOKING. HBOWatch has been keep an eye on this once since 12.16.12 when it went by the name of “Lorimer” but the concept has been the same since the beginning.

 Now joining Jonathan Groff in the work is Russell Tovey from the BBC’s Being Human and Scott Bakula who was most recently seen in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. The eight-episode dramedy series revolves around three friends in San Francisco (Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Jonathan Groff), who explore the fun and sometimes overwhelming options available to a new generation of gay men. Tovey plays Kevin, an accomplished video game wunderkind who has achieved financial and critical success at a young age and Bakula is Lynn, wealthy and popular figure in the San Francisco gay community. Shooting of eight episodes is said to have begun in the San Francisco area.


  • Scorsese/Jagger Drama

This is a slow moving project for obvious reasons; developers Martin Scorsese has his feature films, Mick Jagger seems to KoppelmanLavein-300x99always be on tour and Terrence Winter has BOARDWALK EMPIRE. But, the untitled Music Industry Drama, with Bobby Cannavale in as lead, has gotten one step closer. It was THE HISTORY OF MUSIC briefly, but that seems dropped now.  

 The production has now locked it a team of show runners that will get the proposed series in front of the cameras in 2014. They are Brian Koppelman and David Levien, (pictured) who wrote such movies as Oceans 13 and Players. It will be their day-to-day business to get the story of Richie Finestra, a cocaine-fueled record exec in New York City circa 1977, when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided. Richie is a talented A&R guy who is elevated to run a big label, even though he thinks he’s better suited to focusing on other music matters. It could be interesting, but I guess we just can’t rush the process just making this project another one to keep our eyes on.  


  • David Milch’s THE MONEY DavidMilch

We wrap up this session with one more project appearing for the first time. It is David Milch’s THE MONEY. To tell you about that work I defer to an HBOWatch writer who is a fellow countryman of that projects intended lead. See the following post for the news.

 More Development Slate when it warrants.   





Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *