Space on Aaron Sorkin’s first project since becoming an Academy Award winner is rapidly disappearing – as, Olivia Munn and Alison Pill have officially signed on to the HBO pilot known presently as More As This Story Develops.
Both actresses were linked to the upcoming drama several weeks ago – when word first leaked that Sorkin and HBO were pursuing Marisa Tomei to play the female lead in the series. However, as evidence of how quickly things can move in Hollywood, that role is now considered all but locked by film star Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island).
More As This Story Develops centers on anchorman Will McCallister (played by Jeff Daniels) who is struggling to rebuild his program – after his co-anchor suddenly leaves the show with the majority of the production staff in tow. Pill will play Maggie, one of the few associate producers still loyal to McCallister, who is also romantically involved with a fellow staff member of the show. Meanwhile, Munn is set to play Sloan, a financial analyst and anchor of another program on the same network as McCallister.
From the details that have slipped out, MATSD sounds like it is ripe for comparison with the James L. Brooks 1987 classic Broadcast News. Both have (or are negotiating to have) strong female leads working in a very male-dominated setting – Holly Hunter and Emily Mortimer, respectively. Both also feature well-regarded actors in the role of anchorman – William Hurt and Jeff Daniels. Additionally, Sorkin’s knack for sharp dialogue can easily be compared to the often-clever interchange between Brooks’ characters. Whether further comparisons will arise when (and if) the show airs, we will just have to wait and see.
Even more interesting, this is Sorkin’s third attempt at a series dealing with the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a television program – Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip being the other two. There must be something intriguing to Sorkin about producers and their talent – since the acclaimed writer seems adamant about making the concept stick. Perhaps Sorkin’s recent screenwriting Oscar for the critical darling The Social Network will entice enough viewers to this new program for it to enjoy the kind of run The West Wing had on NBC.
However, Sorkin isn’t alone in trying to bring More As This Story Develops to the light of day. He will be joined by The Social Network producer Scott Rudin and Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) with Superbad and Paul director Greg Mottola is set to direct the pilot.
Production is nearly underway, so if all goes according to plan, you can expect to see HBO roll out More As This Story Develops sometime in 2012.