GIAMATTI. LINNEY. WILKINSON. MORSE.
That, friends, is the starting line up for HBO’s John Adams, an upcoming seven-hour miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize winner by David McCullough. The series will tell the story of the titular founding father and second president (played by Giamatti) through his wife Abigail (Laura Linney). In addition to this story, John Adams explores the first five decades of the United States, and the Hollywood Reporter reported this week that the always-awesome Tom Wilkinson and David Morse have joined the cast. Wilkinson will play Benjamin Franklin, who had some Parisian wine and thought about cheeting on his wife, and David Morse steps into the shoes of Jeff Daniels as George Washington. (No word yet whether Morse will portray Washington as six-foot-twenty and fucking killing for fun.) John Adams is produced by Playtone, which previously brought us Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, and also stars Danny Huston as Samuel Adams and Rufus Sewell as Alexander Hamilton. Suddenly, 2008 seems like a very, very, long time away.
WHO’S YOUR DOCTOR?
Dr. Who is one of those geeky things that I’ve never had the time or the inclination to really get into aside from the ill-fated FOX TV movie starring Paul McGann. I think it has to do with my compulsion to start every series at the beginning, and we’re talking over 20 years and almost 750 hours of television here. I like to at least pretend I have a life beyond television. But the most recent BBC series has done for Who what Sci-Fi did for Battlestar Galactica – it made it cool again, and current executive producer Russell T. Davies confirmed there will be a fourth season in 2008. However, Davies wouldn’t say if current Doctor David Tennant would be back for that fourth year. The most recent season of Dr. Who begins on March 31st on BBC One (complete with a new companion!) for you British Chewers, and everyone else will have to wait until it airs in your country of choice. (Sci-Fi for us in the U.S.)
GLEESON AT WAR
One of the best HBO movies is The Gathering Storm, the Ridley and Tony Scott-produced historical drama about Winston Churchill in the years leading up to World War II. It’s a historical biopic that doesn’t hit the major biopic beats and – thanks to a legendary performance by Albert Finney – humanizes a historical titan in an honest, yet respectful fashion. Now, the Scott Bros. are returning to the life of Winston Churchill with the upcoming HBO film Churchill at War. The film, written by Hugh Whitemore, who did Gathering Storm, “explores how the traits that made Churchill a great wartime leader…were the same ones that resulted in him being voted out of power within weeks of the war’s end.” While Albert Finney will not be returning as Churchill, the producers found an actor just as compelling: Brendan Gleeson, one of my favorite actors, and not just because we share the same first name. He’s a reliable, always watchable actor no matter what the part, and this should be a fantastic role for Gleeson. Now, if they could only lure Kenneth Branagh back as FDR, things would be perfect.
ESCAPE FROM COP SHOW HELL
Speaking of always watchable actors, how about Miguel Ferrer? The guy’s been in everything from Robocop to Traffic to The Stand to the first episode of ER, yet his presence has never been enough to make me ever care about Crossing Jordan. And I’ve seen episodes of Eye for an Eye, the court show hosted by Kato Kaelin. Well, Ferrer’s joined a show that we might actually watch – the Bionic Woman reimagining from Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick. Ferrer will play the Bionic Woman’s boss and head of the government agency that made her faster, stronger, better, and I’m guessing several other words ending with “-er.” Should Bionic Woman get a series pickup, Ferrer is expected to pull double duty on both Woman and Jordan, but Jordan’s fate does not look good – Ferrer is the second star from that show to take pilot work. (There’s still no word whether or not Martin Starr will also be appearing on The Bionic Woman.)
MISOGYNY’S NEXT TOP MODEL?
The National Organization for Women are fuming over an incident on last week’s America’s Next Top Model, and I’m inclined to agree with them on this one. The women’s rights advocates take umbrage with last week’s “model contest,” where the reality show contestants posed as crime scene corpses. The photos, available on the CW website, are disturbingly graphic – one has a half-naked woman spread out in a hall with her heart and kidneys removed, another lies on a bed, clearly strangled. Oh, the irony! I don’t watch America’s Next Top Model (stop calling your seasons “cycles”), but it’s a very popular show among women, and I would think that Tyra Banks and her producers would be a little bit more responsible when it came to their audience – a show dedicated to beauty and glamour does not need to be glamorizing violence towards women. Period. Save it for your eventual SVU guest spot, Tyra.
ANNA CHLUMSKY, COME ON DOWN!
Congratulations, Anna! You’re the answer to “What former Boomerang Generation child actor/heartthrob will be the first to sign on to their own mid-level sitcom?” The star of that ode to teenage lesbianism, Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain (which also featured Christina Ricci and Jewel Staite, and I’m kidding), recently signed onto the CW’s Eight Days A Week. Chlumsky, who beat out Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Lisa Jakub, Devon Sawa, Ariana Richards, Andrew Keegan, and Gaby Hoffman for this award, will play an assistant to the rich and powerful. Before getting back into acting with an off-off-Broadway production of Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead, Chlumsky was a food researcher for Zagat in New York City. She’s also been on 30 Rock and Law & Order: Prime recently. Believe me, I know how pathetic it is that I have managed to retain that information. (Oh, and that kid from Dick Tracy and Hook went to MIT and became a conservative lawyer.)