HBO picks up Kate Winslet miniseries

3:00 PM PST 02/11/2010 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

'Mildred Pierce' is being directed by Todd Haynes

Todd Haynes' "Mildred Pierce" is headed to HBO.

The premium cable network has picked up the five-hour miniseries project starring Kate Winslet, which it will co-produce with MGM, Killer Films and John Wells Prods.

Haynes is directing the adaptation of James M. Cain's classic noir novel, which centers on Mildred Pierce Beragon (Winslet), a proud single mother struggling to earn her daughter's love during the Great Depression in middle-class Los Angeles.

Haynes and Jon Raymond co-wrote the script for "Mildred," which is being executive produced by Haynes, Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon of Killer Films and John Wells. Ilene Landress serves as producer.

Casting for the other roles is under way, with production on the mini slated to begin in April in New York.

This marks the second major screen adaptation of Cain's novel.

The 1945 feature by Michael Curtiz earned Joan Crawford an Academy Award for the title role.

HBO had been considered the leading candidate for the Haynes/Winslet take on "Mildred Pierce" ever since word on the project surfaced last summer.

Winslet is hot coming off her Oscar win for "The Reader" last year. After starting off on British TV, the actress has been focused on features for the past 16 years, earning six Oscar nominations. In 2005, she made a rare TV appearance with a guest turn on Ricky Gervais' HBO/BBC comedy "Extras."

Haynes' writing/directing credits include "I'm Not There" and "Far From Heaven."

For HBO, the green light for "Mildred Pierce" follows the critical success of another longform project toplined by feature stars, the movie "Grey Gardens" headlined by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.
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