Today in show business news: History is remaking Roots, Ben Affleck is giving us a big Christmas present, and Lifetime plans another big event movie.
The History Channel, excuse me just History, announced today that it is producing a remake of the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries Roots, an epic eight-hour look at American slavery. Some cynical people might say that slavery narratives are "trending" these days, what with last year's Django Unchained and this year's stirring awards favorite 12 Years a Slave, but let's not apply that terminology to something as sadly bedrock to American history as slavery, shall we? Let's just say that it's interesting that History has decided to remake such a seminal work of television and hope that they don't muck it up. The Bible is one thing, but this is a little closer to the home. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Meanwhile over at Lifetime, plans are afoot (or a-Foote) to turn Horton Foote's play The Trip to Bountiful into a TV movie. They'll be using some of the much-lauded cast from the recent, much-lauded Broadway production of the show, which starred Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams. Joining them will be Keke Palmer, replacing Condola Rashad, and Blair Underwood, replacing Cuba Gooding Jr. The play, about an elderly Southern woman traveling to the town where she grew up in the era of Jim Crow, was made into a feature film in the 1980s, winning an Oscar for lead actress Geraldine Page. This marks the second time in recent memory that Lifetime has adapted a stage play (that was also a film at one point) with an all-black cast, following last year's Steel Magnolias. [Deadline]
Ben Affleck's next directorial effort,
Good Will Hunting 2: About Those Apples Live By Night will be released on Christmas Day 2015. Look at Ben Affleck! Getting the big Christmas debut. That's usually reserved for some pretty heavy hitters, though I guess at this point that's exactly what Ben Affleck is. Meanwhile, another actor turned acclaimed director, Clint Eastwood, will bless the world with his completely necessary Jersey Boys movie this coming June. I think they should delay it, move it to Christmas 2015 too. Pit Affleck and Eastwood against each other, old vs. young. That's what Christmas is all about. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson is continuing his professional relationship with Ryan Murphy, having appeared on Glee a couple seasons back. He's landed a role on Murphy's HBO sex pilot Open, one that will be a regular if the series is picked up. Deadline says that Jackson will play "a handsome meth addict." Which, hm, OK. Only, handsome meth addicts don't stay handsome for long. Something to be mindful of, Ryan. [Deadline]
Former Real World cast member (London! So many years ago!) Jacinda Barrett has landed a recurring role on the next season of Fox's lugubrious, unpleasant serial killer drama The Following. She will play "a very disarming and alluring woman whose mysterious intentions send several main characters in a frightening new direction." Oh so she's going to invite them down to Florida for a free trip and then she's going to pressure them into buying a timeshare, which will prove to be a logistical and financial nightmare. Spooky! [Entertainment Weekly]
Fox has bought a drama described in Deadline's headline (heh) as a "Romeo & Juliet Drag Racing Drama." So that ought to be terrific. No way that show could be bad. Greenlight this thing already, Fox! [Deadline]
And over at The CW, they're developing a drama set in 1880s Belle Epoque Paris. It will involve "ecadence, poverty, sex, drugs and a serial killer running rampant throughout the city." OK! More Reign. Sure. Fine by me. [Deadline]
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