Hallmark's CBS pic is 'Unorthodox'

Lauren Ambrose, Adam Kaufman lead cast

Lauren Ambrose and Adam Kaufman lead the cast of "Unorthodox," a new Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation for CBS.

Susie Essman, Ricki Lake and Mercedes Ruehl co-star in the film, now in production in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Based on P'nenah Goldstein's play "Loving Leah," "Unorthodox" centers on Jake (Kaufman), a 30-year-old Washington D.C. doctor whose estranged older brother, a rabbi in a close-knit Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y., dies. Jake is asked to marry his late brother's 26-year-old widow, Leah (Ambrose), honoring the ancient levirate marriage law.

To keep their mothers (Ruehl, Essman) at bay, Jake and Leah decide to enter a pretend marriage, living separate lives out of Jake's D.C. apartment. That proves challenging, especially after they start to fall for each other.

Lake plays a Washington rabbi who befriends Leah. Also cast in the film is Christy Pusz as Jake's girlfriend.

Jeff Bleckner is directing "Unorthodox" from a script by Goldstein. Brent Shields and Michael Besman executive produce.