11:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Sarah Silverman, Topher Grace, Patti LuPone to Star in HBO's Lorne Michaels Pilot
HBO has set an all-star cast for its Lorne Michaels comedy pilot People in New Jersey.
Sarah Silverman, Topher Grace and Patti LuPone have been tapped to star in the half-hour from Girls writer/EP Bruce Eric Kaplan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
People in New Jersey is described as a hilarious, poignant look at life today as seen through the prism of an adult brother and sister living in New Jersey. They each struggle to get through the day, asking themselves the big questions, little questions and everything in between.
Grace will play Carl Levin, an affable locksmith who has a definite idea of how things and people should be, and when the world doesn't conform to his vision, he resists mightily. He is warm and thinks of others, but at the same time is rigid and hates change. Carl is single and dating constantly.
Silverman is set to portray Melanie Levin, a former management consultant who now works part-time at a department store. It is only temporary but doesn't feel that way. Melanie is involved with a man in what her mother describes as a "half-relationship." Melanie is starting to wonder if she deserves something better. She can be extremely driven and fights for what she believes in. She is a closet optimist.
LuPone will portray Rachel Levin, Melanie and Carl's mother, who has been somewhat lost since the death of her husband. She focuses a lot of her energy on worrying about her children and why neither has settled down in a relationship. Rachel is all opinions. Both her kids have a habit of blurting out whatever it is they are thinking and clearly, they got this from her.
Kaplan will pen the script and executive produce alongside Michaels and Andrew Singer. Paul Feig will direct the pilot and executive produce. Ilene Landress will serve as supervising producer, while Jessie Henderson and Gina Heyman will produce the HBO Entertainment, Broadway Video and Feigco Entertainment comedy.
For Grace (That '70 Show), the role would mark his return to series television following features Spider-Man 3, The Big Wedding and Valentine's Day. He's repped by ICM Partners, Brillstein Entertainment and Gendler & Kelly.
Former SNL writer-star Silverman will reunite with Michaels for the pilot. Should it go to series, it would mark her first small-screen role since Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program. The comedian's credits include a voice role in Bob's Burgers as well as episodes of The Good Wife, The League and features Wreck-It Ralph and The Muppets. She's repped by CAA, thruline and Ziffren Brittenham.
Singer-actress LuPone won Tony Awards for her role as Eva Peron in 1979's Evita and as Mama Rose in 2008's Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Her TV credits include FX's upcoming American Horror Story: Asylum and episodes of Army Wives, 30 Rock and Frasier, the latter of which earned her a guest actress in a comedy Emmy nomination. She's repped by Innovative.