HBO lays 10 spot on new 'Hope'


HBO has assembled the cast of J.J. Abrams' drama pilot "The Anatomy of Hope," which Abrams has signed on to direct.

Chris Messina, John Ortiz, Simon Callow, Valerie Pettiford, Matt Craven, Deepti Daryanani, Daryl Edwards, Diego Klattenhoff, Kerry Condon and Sarah Knowlton have been tapped to star in the hospital drama that explores cancer battles from the patients' point of view.

"Hope," based on Jerome Groopman's book, is produced by Abrams' Bad Robot through the company's deal at Warner Bros. TV. It was written by Tom Schulman and Rafael Yglesias, who are exec producing with Abrams and Bryan Burk. The project marks the first pilot to come out of Bad Robot's pact with WBTV.

Messina (HBO's "Six Feet Under") will play an oncologist who goes between being overly friendly and aloof. Ortiz ("Miami Vice") will play a recent cancer survivor. Callow ("The Phantom of the Opera") will play one of the top oncologists in the U.S. Pettiford (UPN's "Half & Half") plays a terminally ill cancer patient. Craven ("Disturbia") will play a hyper guy who may have prostate cancer. Edwards ("Rent") will play a patient with advanced cancer. Klattenhoff's role is that of a recently engaged young man with bone cancer in his leg, and Condon (HBO's "Rome") will play his fiancee. Daryanani's character is a beautiful young doctor. Knowlton will play a nurse who runs the chemo ward.

Ortiz recently wrapped "American Gangster" and "AVP2" and next appears in "El Cantante" and "Pride and Glory." He is repped by the Gersh agency, Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta Management and attorney Neil Meyer.

Pettiford is repped by Joel Dean at TalentWorks and manager Jeff Morrone; Edwards and Knowlton are repped by TalentWorks.