Something's not kosher in Hallmark's CBS pic


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.

Based on P'nenah Goldstein's play "Loving Leah," "Unorthodox" centers on Jake (Kaufman), a 30-year-old doctor whose estranged older brother, a rabbi in a close-knit Hasidic community, 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 apartment. That proves challenging, especially after they start to fall for each other.

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

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