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From Gerwig to Fincher, Film Icons Are Heading to the Small Screen

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood February 12, 2014 at 4:21PM

This week, a handful of prominent filmmakers and actors announced that they will be making their way to the small screen, from Greta Gerwig to David Fincher and more.
Greta Gerwig in Berlin
Markus Schreiber Greta Gerwig in Berlin

Look at the credits of many television series and you're bound to see some familiar directors pop up, from Nicole Holofcener ("Six Feet Under," "Sex and the City") and Agnieszka Holland ("The Killing," upcoming "Rosemary's Baby") to Martin Scorsese ("Boardwalk Empire"). But the film industry shift to television is gaining momentum as many veterans struggling to keep a handhold at the studios and low-budget indie film practitioners realize that TV is their best shot at earning some money. This week the announcements came hard and fast, as prominent filmmakers and actors announced that they will be making their way to the small screen. 

Currently working on "Gone Girl," author Gillian Flynn and director David Fincher will team up to adapt the British conspiracy thriller "Utopia" for HBO, which gave the project a full series order. HBO is currently airing the brilliant and brutally dark eight-episode first season of "True Detective," directed by another auteur, Cary Fukunaga, who previously helmed "Jane Eyre" and "Sin Nombre."

Perhaps most surprising of all was the news that indie it-girl Greta Gerwig (Golden Globe-nominated this year for "Frances Ha") will make her small screen debut twofold: as both writer and star of "How I Met Your Dad," the spinoff of the popular CBS series "How I Met Your Mother." An unexpected turn to be sure, but Gerwig's irresistible charms should play well in a sitcom.

Meanwhile, though "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke is no small screen ingenue, she's partnering with Jason Blum to executive produce the series "Eye Candy," slated for ten episodes on MTV from the pilot Hardwicke directed.

Director Steven Spielberg, who almost took his Oscar-winning "Lincoln" to HBO, will coproduce with CBS Television Studios a new drama "Extant," which premieres on CBS in June. Amazon Prime customers will have unlimited streaming of all episodes four days after their initial broadcast. "Extant" is a mystery thriller starring Halle Berry as a female astronaut struggling to reconnect with her family after returning from a year in space.

One auteur to take the leap last year was Steven Soderbergh, who bid adieu to theatrical features following "Side Effects" in 2013 and racked up innumerable awards this season for his Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra." Next up, Soderbergh will direct and produce all ten episodes of Cinemax's "The Knick," starring Clive Owen as a surgeon in a high-stakes hospital in 1900 New York. The series is expected to hit the premium cable network sometime in 2014.

This article is related to: Television, Television, News, Steven Soderbergh, Greta Gerwig, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Gone Girl

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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.