Generally speaking, HBO keeps going from strength to strength. 2011 has already brought the most involving "Cinema Verite," the increasingly gripping "Game of Thrones" (which is more than worth checking out, even if you're allergic to fantasy) and Todd Haynes' wonderful "Mildred Pierce," and their upcoming slate includes work from the likes of Michael Mann, David Milch, Armando Ianucci, Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and Mike White, with projects in development with Michael Chabon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Zach Galifianakis and Neil Gaiman, among many, many others.
But perhaps the one we're most looking forward to, as giant fans of "The West Wing," is the return of the Oscar winning "The Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to television, for a new potential series set behind the scenes at a cable news show, with the working title "More As This Story Develops." HBO greenlit the Scott Rudin-produced pilot a few weeks back, tapping "Superbad" and "Paul" director Greg Mottola to helm it, and Jeff Daniels to take the lead role of egotistical star anchor Will McAllister. Now according to Deadline, it looks like the rest of the cast is filling out, and it's good news all around.
Firstly, the female lead, the role of the show's executive producer, MacKenzie McHale, one of the best of the business, and an ex-lover of Will, brought in against the anchor's desires to look after the show, is close to being filled by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. The actress has really hit a groove in recent years, with Oscar nominations for "In The Bedroom" and "The Wrestler," and an equally fine performances in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and "Cyrus," while she's got "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and George Clooney's "The Ides of March" coming up later in the year.
Tomei's met with Sorkin twice in a week, and it seems that she's all but locked up the role. And, while we're also huge fans of Emily Mortimer, who's said to be close behind in the running, Tomei's a perfect fit for the part. Two other actresses are also in negotiations for roles in addition to Tomei: Alison Pill, an HBO veteran after a season of "In Treatment," and otherwise best known for knocking the role of Kim Pine out of the park in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," is in talks to play Maggie, a young associate producer on the show, while model-turned-actress Olivia Munn, currently a correspondent on "The Daily Show," is being courted to play a financial analyst who works at the same network.
Munn's casting has already caused some minor controversy, at least among the commenters on Deadline (who are, admittedly, the worst human beings in the world) -- her last acting appearance, on NBC's swiftly cancelled "Perfect Couples," wasn't exactly praised to the skies. But Munn's always struck us as a smart cookie, and she's a good fit for the role on the page -- which is perhaps the most minor of all the potentially recurring roles in the script. There's a few more big parts to be cast, most notably Steve and Jim, two other young producers on the show, who form two points of a love triangle with Pill's character, and Charlie, the president of the news division. Filming on the pilot will hopefully get underway shortly, and we've got our fingers crossed as tight as they can go for a swift green-light.