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Pilot Casting: Sevigny for Lizzie Borden, Drescher Happily Divorced, Chenoweth's Christian Bitches

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 15, 2011 at 6:48AM

- Several actresses are lining up TV pilots. Chloe Sevigny, of Big Love (which is winding up its final fifth season run on HBO), is attached to star in an HBO miniseries, reports Variety, about the infamous Lizzie Borden (pictured, 1890), to be produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- Several actresses are lining up TV pilots. Chloe Sevigny, of Big Love (which is winding up its final fifth season run on HBO), is attached to star in an HBO miniseries, reports Variety, about the infamous Lizzie Borden (pictured, 1890), to be produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone.

Borden was publicly reproached after being acquitted of killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet in 1892 Massachusetts. While no director is yet on board, Bryce Kass has completed the script for the first half of the series and Sevigny hung out for several nights in Lizzie Borden's one-time home, now a Bed & Breakfast in Fall River, MA. Elizabeth Montgomery played Borden in a 1975 TV movie, The Legend of Lizzie Borden.

- If you'd like to spend a night at the Bed & Breakfast, you can rent a room for around $200, or the entire house for $1,500 per night. Guests are served a breakfast "similar to the one the Bordens ate on the morning of the murders," including bananas, jonnycakes, sugar cookies, coffee and breakfast staples. A brief video history of the murders is below.

Thompson on Hollywood


- Kristin Chenoweth joins ABC pilot Good Christian Bitches, a comedy-drama which Sex and the City's Darren Star exec-producing, reports THR. Leslie Bibb stars as a recently divorced woman who moves home to Dallas and becomes the center of attention for gossip-hungry churchgoing women. Bibb (who got the role after Christina Applegate passed) and Chenoweth are joined by the supporting cast of Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor, Marisol Nichols, Annie Potts. Robert Harling (The Laws of Attraction) will write and executive produce alongside Star and Aaron Kaplan, while Big Love's Alan Poul may direct. Not surprisingly, given the title, the Parents Television Council is already upset, saying ABC's pilot is “not only an affront to women, it blatantly attacks the world’s largest faith."

- The Nanny may return, but this time Fran Drescher will play a Happily Divorced woman re-entering the dating world after learning that her husband is gay. Drescher, upon whose life the series is based, will also write and executive produce with Peter Marc Jacobson, her Nanny co-creator. This is one of three TV Land pilots, reports Deadline.

- Julie Benz, who went from Dexter to Desperate Housewives to No Ordinary Family, is now joining CBS's untitled Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) supernatural medical drama, to be directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), reports TVLine. Patrick Wilson stars as Michael, a competitive surgeon whose life is altered when his wife dies and begins teaching him life lessons. Benz will play Michael's sister, a big-hearted single mother.

This article is related to: Genres, Headliners, Video, Stuck In Love, Daily Read, TV, Drama, comedy, Biopics, Trailers, HBO


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.