Ben Stiller, Jonathan Safran Foer Team for Jewish Family Comedy at HBO
HBO is getting into the Ben Stiller business.
The actor, who got his big break on a short-lived, eponymous sketch show on MTV/Fox, has signed on to star, direct and executive produce All Talk, a new HBO comedy pilot from novelist Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Everything is Illuminated).
The project, which is being billed as “politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually and sexually irreverent,” revolves around the daily and life-altering dramas of a Jewish family in Washington, DC. Emmy winner Alan Alda is currently in negotiations to join Stiller in front of the camera, marking what would be his first series regular role since M*A*S*H. The pilot is tentatively scheduled to shoot this fall.
Stiller and Foer, along with Scott Rudin and Eli Bush, will serve as executive producers; Foer has penned the pilot script. The project is something of a reunion for Stiller and Rudin, who have collaborated on several projects, including Zoolander and The Royal Tenenbaums as well as theBroadway revival of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves
"Ben Stiller continues to be a major, multi-talented star because of his discerning ability to embrace creative and innovative projects - whatever the medium," said HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo. "From major blockbuster motion pictures to small independent films; from Broadway to off-Broadway, the common thread is always the excellence of the material.”
In November, Stiller's shingle Red Hour Films inked an overall production and development deal with ABC Studios. The pact, which runs through May 31, 2013, with an option to extend for one year, accompanied the high-profile hire of Deborah Liebling to run Red Hour's new television division.
For his part, Rudin has a string of projects set up at HBO, including Aaron Sorkin's cable news drama series Newsroom and The Corrections, an adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's best-seller with Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest.
Stiller, who recently wrapped production on Neighborhood Watch and is set to star in, direct The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is repped by WME and Gang, Tyre, Raymer & Brown. Rudin is repped by Ziffren Brittenham; Foer is with RWSH Agency.
Additional reporting by Lesley Goldberg.
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