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'Superbad' & 'Paul' Director Greg Mottola To Helm Aaron Sorkin's New HBO Pilot

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 29, 2011 at 1:25AM

We love movies, and (good) television, and stories in general. That's why we do what we do. And sometimes, we get up to see the slate of developing stories, and it depresses the fuck out of us. It can be hard to keep up your enthusiasm when movie versions of "Candyland" and reboots of "Ms. Marple" are the big stories of the day. But fortunately, every few days brings a piece of news that makes us glow a little, that reminds us that there are smart people doing good work, and it's these times that stop us from developing full-blown drinking habits. Well, fuller-blown drinking habits. And today is one of these times.
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We love movies, and (good) television, and stories in general. That's why we do what we do. And sometimes, we get up to see the slate of developing stories, and it depresses the fuck out of us. It can be hard to keep up your enthusiasm when movie versions of "Candyland" and reboots of "Ms. Marple" are the big stories of the day. But fortunately, every few days brings a piece of news that makes us glow a little, that reminds us that there are smart people doing good work, and it's these times that stop us from developing full-blown drinking habits. Well, fuller-blown drinking habits. And today is one of these times.

After the immense success of "The Social Network," which won him his first Oscar, Aaron Sorkin is heading back to TV, the home to work like "Sports Night" and "The West Wing" that made his name, but this time is developing his next venture over at HBO. The show, currently untitled, follows a cable news anchor and his staff, and is heading towards the pilot stage, having announced last week that Jeff Daniels is in talks to play the lead role, Will McCallister. It was already an immensely exciting proposition, but there's one more piece of the puzzle that's come in that's topped it off for us, as Deadline announced that Greg Mottola has signed on to direct the pilot.

Mottola's best known these days as a film director, with three back-to-back successes, albeit of varying sizes, in "Superbad," "Adventureland" and "Paul," but a decade or so of top-quality TV work, on the likes of "Undeclared" and "Arrested Development," followed his debut feature "The Daytrippers," so Mottola knows the form well. Furthermore, that work helped to hone Mottola into one of our favorite comedy directors working right now, and we can think of few better choices for the gig here.

We've read the pilot script, which is set against the backdrop of the Deepwater explosion a year ago, and it's vintage Sorkin; funny, packed with dramatic conflict that'll play out across the series, stirring, impassioned and a far better fit than his last TV work, "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip," which saw Sorkin trying to push his usual interests on a show about a live comedy variety series. With Mottola and Daniels (who should knock his character out of the park) on board, we honestly couldn't be looking forward to this anymore. There's no word on when the show will debut, should it make it past the pilot stage (and it's essentially a dead cert with the talent involved) -- but we imagine it'll air around the start of 2012.

This article is related to: Actors, TV Networks, Greg Mottola, Jeff Daniels, Aaron Sorkin


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