This week in TV:
HBO secures the rights to adapt the Broadway play All the Way into a TV movie; Daredevil casts Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) as Matt Murdock's love interest; TNT renews Falling Skies for a fifth and final season, along with additional seasons of The Last Ship and Major Crimes; Syfy's The Expanse casts Thomas Jane (Hung) in a lead role; and Disney Television Animation announces development on a Haunted Mansion special.
HBO Films secured the rights to adapt the Broadway production All the Way with Bryan Cranston attached to reprise his Tony-winning role as President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Last month we learned that Steven Spielberg was interested in producing the adaptation (originally as a miniseries) with Cranston on board, and his past relationship with HBO (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) likely contributed to the completion of the deal, as his company, Amblin Television, was hired to co-produce the TV movie. Cranston will also executive produce, along with All the Way playwright Robert Schenkkan, who is tasked with adapting his own material.
The play - which followed Johnson's first year in office after President Kennedy's assassination - received widespread acclaim and won 2014 Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actor (Cranston) and Best Play. However, even those unfamiliar with the stage production or the series of historic events surrounding Johnson's presidency (Vietnam War, 1964 Civil Rights Act) could still be drawn to the adaptation due to the involvement of Cranston, who is also nominated for another Emmy Award for the last season of Breaking Bad.
We'll let you know when HBO plans to air All the Way when a date is announced.
Additional details on the role are currently scarce, but being a New York native and an activist in the fight against a genetic eye-sight loss disorder called choroideremia could give Woll a special connection to her part on Daredevil, Marvel's only blind crime-fighting hero. After spending seven seasons starring in HBO's True Blood, Woll also seems to have another meaty role to sink her teeth into.
There is no set premiere date for Daredevil, but we'll let you know when Netflix plans to drop the show's 13-episode season 1 on its streaming service.
All three dramas have continued to perform well for the network this season, but Falling Skies producers reportedly decided that five seasons was the perfect amount of airtime to devote to their story. The alien invasion drama will get just 10 more episodes to finish its series run, while The Last Ship and Major Crimes will return with 13 and 15 episodes next season, respectively.
Continue to tune in to The Last Ship on Sundays @9pm, Major Crimes on Mondays @9pm and Falling Skies on Sundays @10pm - all on TNT.
After scoring a series order back in April, Syfy's The Expanse found its leading man this week in Hung alum Thomas Jane.
In a story set 200 years in the future, Jane will star as a hardened detective named Miller who teams with a rogue ship's captain to find a missing heiress. Here's a more detailed description of Jane's character:
"Detective Miller works for a corporate security force that operates as the law in the asteroid belt. Ragged and in search of something he can't identify, Miller finds a new sense of purpose when he's put in charge of the investigation of a missing heiress."
Thus far, Jane is the only announced cast member to join the series based on James S.A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes books series, which has been tabbed for a 10-episode season 1 by the network. Oscar-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men) will pen the series and serve as its co-showrunners alongside Naren Shankar (CSI).
We'll pass along more info on The Expanse as it gets closer to its series premiere.
Disney Television Animation has announced development on a Haunted Mansion special based on the popular Disney Parks attraction.
Famed children's book author and illustrator, Gris Grimly, is set to executive produce the special for Disney Channel and will serve as its art director, while Phineas and Ferb writers Scott Peterson and Joshua Pruett will both write and produce.
Said DTA Original Series Senior Vice President, Eric Coleman:
"Over the past few years we have focused our strategy on making Disney Television Animation the home for the strongest talent in the business. We have steadily built our roster with both animation veterans and fresh voices, and have fostered an environment where artists support and inspire one another. This group will help us continue to deliver the great storytelling and beloved characters that the Disney animation legacy is known for."
With the theme park attraction celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, plans for a Haunted Mansion feature film also resurfaced this week courtesy of horror maestro Guillermo del Toro, who said he's still trying to "crack the screenplay," but that when he does, he believes Disney will allow him to direct the project.
If developing a movie or a TV special based on the Haunted Mansion ride seems like a stretch, don't forget that Disney's massive Pirates of the Caribbean franchise started out the same way and with the same skepticism directed toward its theme park-inspired roots.
We'll update you on the latest news surrounding both Haunted Mansion projects as they move forward.
Source: Disney Television Animation
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