After her work on the Wachowskis’ ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, former Catwoman and X-Men member Halle Berry is rumored to be headlining the proposed television series Higher Learning – currently being shopped around at HBO and Showtime.
The property from DreamWorks TV already has a completed script written by 30-year television veteran Lee Rose. With the addition of Berry being attached to star, Higher Learning is shaping up to be a major acquisition for one of its potential pay-cable suitors.
Though many details of the proposed series are scarce, we do know that Berry would be playing a college professor – beyond that, however, it’s anyone’s guess. However, as the program has been offered exclusively to premium channels – passing on network and basic cable channels altogether – it’s a safe bet that Higher Learning will be exploring some very serious and grown-up themes. Even though this project may share the same title as the 1995 John Singleton film Higher Learning, this proposed television project is based on a original script by Rose and is not associated in any way with Singleton's film, or its characters.
Berry’s involvement with this small-screen project may only be part of what has grabbed the networks’ interest. Apparently Rose’s spec script is considered solid enough to warrant it being passed out to the two big names in pay cable: HBO and Showtime. Though no word has come regarding interest from either channel, some kind of announcement is expected soon.
While Berry brings far more name recognition and star power to the project, Rose is an industry mainstay – crafting a multi-decade career of writing, directing and producing a varied collection television movies and single episodes of popular series. Recently, Rose has helmed episodes of such shows as The Glades, Weeds and In Plain Sight.
Berry’s potential move to television is another major victory for the market. Once thought of as a lowly stepping-stone to eventual movie stardom, television has taken a giant leap forward in recent years – captivating audiences with mature, thought provoking and intricate storylines that have often times outshone their big screen counterparts in terms of quality. Now, more than ever, the format has seen big-name movie stars (both in their prime and struggling to regain past glory) making the move to the small screen to flex their acting muscle in ways they aren’t always afforded by feature films.
Actors like Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey and Sean Bean have all recently traded in their full-time movie star status to headline television series that are practically guaranteed to earn them as much (and in some cases more) praise than ever before. Berry’s potential success in the medium could go a long way in convincing other stars that the small screen isn’t what it used to be.
As interest in Higher Learning grows (or wanes), we will keep you posted on any future developments.