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Chris O'Dowd To Star In TV Series 'Family Tree' From Christopher Guest, Planning To Write A Film For Judd Apatow

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 23, 2012 at 1:13PM

Chris O'Dowd is, quite frankly, a man to watch at the moment. The Irish actor first came to notice alongside Richard Ayoade on British TV show "The I.T. Crowd," which brought him to the attention of Hollywood. And while his early film roles went off a little half-cocked -- "Dinner For Schmucks," "Gulliver's Travels," "The Boat That Rocked" -- he's had an enormous amount of success in the last twelve months or so, led by being the romantic lead in monster comedy hit "Bridesmaids."
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Chris O'Dowd
Chris O'Dowd is, quite frankly, a man to watch at the moment. The Irish actor first came to notice alongside Richard Ayoade on British TV show "The I.T. Crowd," which brought him to the attention of Hollywood. And while his early film roles went off a little half-cocked -- "Dinner For Schmucks," "Gulliver's Travels," "The Boat That Rocked" -- he's had an enormous amount of success in the last twelve months or so, led by being the romantic lead in monster comedy hit "Bridesmaids." Since then, he's been fully accepted into the Judd Apatow fold, with a role in the upcoming "This Is 40," and he'll crop up in a few weeks on "Girls." He's also appeared in "Friends With Kids," has written and will star in his own U.K. comedy series, "Moone Boy," will flex his dramatic muscles is John Michael McDonagh's "Calvary," and is co-starring with Nick Frost in dancing comedy "Cuban Fury."

Oh, and his latest project, Australian film "The Sapphires," in which the actor seemingly steals the show, premiered at Cannes last week, where Harvey Weinstein revealed that he believes the film will be his next great crowd-pleasing hit. And to add to what's been a pretty sensational week for the star, he's gotten the attention of another comedy legend, as Vulture reports that O'Dowd will star in a new TV series co-created by Christopher Guest, the man behind "This Is Spinal Tap," "Waiting For Guffman" and "Best In Show."

Guest's last few films, "A Mighty Wind" and "For Your Consideration," failed to get much traction with either audiences or critics, and like so many filmmakers, he's now looking to the small screen, co-creating a show called "Family Tree" with his frequent collaborator Jim Piddock ("The Five-Year Engagement"), which will be an improvised comedy about a man (O'Dowd) trying to track down his real family. A family, one assumes and hopes, would be made up of many of Guest's collaborators, including the likes of Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Jane Lynch, John Michael Higgins, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey and more.

This isn't Guest's first move into TV: he directed and wrote for the Rob Reiner-created show "Morton & Hayes," which lasted a handful of episode on CBS in the early 1990s. This time, he's committed to a half-hour, commercial-free show similar in format to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and as such is pitching the show, with backers NBCUniversal, to HBO, Showtime, Netflix et al. Hopefully he'll find the small screen a creative boon, and it's certainly more exciting news for O'Dowd.

Speaking of, the actor may be taking his behind-the-scenes talent to the big screen himself quite soon: in a recent interview with The Guardian, O'Dowd says that Judd Apatow has asked him -- as he did for Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and others -- to write a movie script. And the actor is certainly keen, but right now, his schedule is getting in the way: "Writing a movie for Judd feels like the thing I should be doing now – I just have to find the time." Given that he's got all of the above, plus a sitcom he sold to NBC and he's getting married soon, it's likely a ways off, but definitely something to keep an eye out for.

This article is related to: Chris O'Dowd, Christopher Guest, Judd Apatow


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