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HBO Picks Up PTSD Drama 'Laughs Unlimited' From 'Rampart' & 'The Messenger' Director Oren Moverman

The Playlist By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist December 14, 2012 at 1:24PM

HBO has had a good year with their new comedy projects. “Girls” and “Veep” were both fantastic, while even Ricky Gervais’ “Life’s Too Short” seems to have received a far warmer reception on the channel than it did in its native U.K. On the drama front the only new show we got from them was “The Newsroom,” which even fans of the show will concede wasn’t quite the home run that you’d expect from an Aaron Sorkin scripted series. With “Treme” set to finish up with a mini-season in the New Year, HBO will be hoping for a raft of new projects that can compliment “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones” and the aforementioned “The Newsroom” on their drama slate.
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Rampart Oren Moverman

HBO has had a good year with their new comedy projects. “Girls” and “Veep” were both fantastic, while even Ricky Gervais’ “Life’s Too Short” seems to have received a far warmer reception on the channel than it did in its native U.K. On the drama front the only new show we got from them was “The Newsroom,” which even fans of the show will concede wasn’t quite the home run that you’d expect from an Aaron Sorkin-scripted series. With “Treme” set to finish up with a mini-season in the New Year, HBO will be hoping for a raft of new projects that can compliment “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones” and the aforementioned “The Newsroom” on their drama slate.

Joining their list of developing dramas is the ironically titled “Laughs Unlimited,” an hour-long program that will tackle the issue of war vets returning from the Middle East with post-traumatic stress disorder. The project has been created by two men who have flirted with related concepts before in Oren Moverman and Anthony Swofford. Moverman is the better known of the two, having directed the acclaimed films “The Messenger” and “Rampart,” while Swofford is a former U.S. Marine best known for penning the book “Jarhead,” which was later adapted into a Sam Mendes movie.

The focus of the series is an Army medic called Billie Crown, who upon returning from a tour in Afghanistan finds that her husband is divorcing her and taking custody of their daughter. She hides her post-traumatic stress disorder and is reinstated as a Sacramento police officer, but the pressures of her job and family life leave her constantly on the edge of a meltdown. Laughs unlimited indeed. We imagine the lead role would be a hugely sought after one for any quality actress, and one that if executed properly would surely lead to awards recognition down the line. Anyway, it sounds like a great project for Moverman and Swofford to get their teeth into, and it's one we'll keep an eye on. [Deadline]

This article is related to: Television, Oren Moverman, Laughs Unlimited


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