Among the TV adaptations of popular films are turn-of-the-millennium pics Cruel Intentions and Training Day, which are both getting the pilot treatment this season with an eye towards “continuations” rather than total reboots. Producers are courting stars Sarah Michelle Geller and Ethan Hawke to reprise their iconic roles in pilots for the new series.
NBC’s CRUEL INTENTIONS picks up 15 years after the cult 1999 movie, which starred Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon and Gellar. It follows Geller’s beautiful and cunning Kathryn Merteuil as she vies for control of Valmont International, likely as a school administrator, as well as the soul of Bash Casey, the son of her step-brother, the late Sebastian Valmont (Phillippe) and Annette Hargrove (Witherspoon).
With Gellar’s character featured so prominently in the followup series, producers have approached her about reprising her role in the pilot, though no deals have been set. The series comes from the film’s writer-director Roger Kumble and producer Neal H. Moritz as well as Lindsey Rosin & Jordan Ross, the duo behind the The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Cruel Intentions.
CBS’s present-day reimagining of Antoine Fuqua’s acclaimed 2001 Denzel Washington-Ethan Hawke film TRAINING DAY has the potential to also become a sequel by featuring the surviving main characters from the movie, including Hawke’s Jake Hoyt.
The TV adaptation, written by Will Beall and directed by Fuqua, is set 15 years later and centers on an idealistic young African-American police officer, Kyle, who is given an assignment by the Deputy Chief to go undercover with an elite squad of the LAPD and take down a morally ambiguous Caucasian detective, gaining the trust of the seasoned cop by becoming his new partner.
There were two versions of the pilot script, one that had Hoyt as the corrupt older detective and one with the rogue cop as a new character while the Deputy Chief is Hoyt. Hawke apparently was not interested in signing on as a series regular, so producers are courting him for a recurring role as the Deputy Chief in the latter version of the pilot.
As TV adaptations of films increase, more producers are looking to bring in stars from the original films. Fox’s Minority Report featured Daniel London reprising his role as Wally the Caretaker, and CBS’s Limitless has brought Bradley Cooper in for a recurring role as his character from the film, Eddie Morra. Cooper also serves as a producer on the procedural series. No word yet whether a producer credit is on the table for either Geller or Hawke.
Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Natascha McElhone, and Italia Ricci have been cast in Kiefer Sutherland’s DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. The straight-to-series ABC drama, created by David Guggenheim, stars 24’s Sutherland as Tom, a lower-level U.S. cabinet member who is suddenly appointed President after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession. The series is described as a family drama mixed with a conspiracy thriller about an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation.
Q is set as Hannah, the lead FBI agent on the Capitol’s bombing who professional is in command but whose personal life is a mess. Q’s credits include The CW’s Nikita, CBS’s Stalker, and the Divergent franchise. She’s with CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
Penn, who will also receive a consultant credit, will portray Seth, a speech writer who helps Tom write his first one after the attack. In addition to roles that range from the Harold & Kumar franchise to a series regular role on Fox’s House MD, Penn served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, co-chaired President Obama’s re-election campaign, and served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He’s repped by UTA and Industry Entertainment.
McElhone will play Jessica, Tom’s wife who is a smart and strong EEOC attorney. The Brittish actress, best known for her role as Karen on Showtime’s Californication, is repped by Paradigm and The Artists Partnership.
Ricci is Emily, Tom’s chief of staff. Ricci’s ABC Family series Chasing Life recently ended its run, and she next will appear in a recurring role on CBS’s Supergirl. She’s repped by ICM Partners and Protege.
USA’s EYEWITNESS has tapped Tyler Young to star and set Twilight helmer Catherine Hardwicke to direct the first two episodes of the 10-episode straight-to-series drama. The project, an adaptation of the Norwegian crime thriller Øyevitne, is written and exec produced by Shades Of Blue creator Adi Hasak. Scott Peters will also serve as EP and will direct multiple episodes. The original series’s creator Jarl Emsell Larsen will executive produce.
In Eyewitness, two teenage boys secretly meet up in the forest where they witness to a shooting and barely escape with their lives. Desperate to keep their relationship a secret and in fear of being found by the perpetrator, they remain silent but soon learn that what has been seen cannot be unseen.
Young will play one of the teens, Philip O’Brien, a sensitive yet tough boy from the projects who’s seen more pain than anyone ever should. He gets a shot to start over with his foster mother in an idyllic small town where he begins to fall in love with a boy from school, Lukas, with whom he witnesses a quadruple murder. Young, who is repped by Gray Talent Group and Authentic Management, has appeared on Empire, Chicago Fire and starred in U.S.-Spanish series The Avatars.
According to a senior campaign advisor for Sanders, the Vermont Senator has been invited and is heading to SNL. There has been no official announcement about whether he will actually appear on the show, but it seems likely given host Larry David has twice performed a spot-on impression of the Presidential candidate on the sketch series. Earlier this season, Republican hopeful Donald Trump hosted an episode, and Sander’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton appeared in a sketch opposite Kate McKinnon’s version of the former Secretary of State.
Homeland‘s Morocco Omari is heading to EMPIRE in a major recurring role asTariq Cousins, an FBI hotshot who’ll cause trouble for Lucious Lyons, and there’s a chance the character will stick around as a series regular. Cousins started as one of the finest cops ever to work the streets of Philadelphia, then advanced to a post at the FBI where he eventually rose to head his department.
In addition to an arc on Showtime’s Homeland, Omari has appeared on CBS’s The Good Wife, Person Of Interest, and NBC’s Chicago Fire.
AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD has tapped Veronica Diaz-Carranza for a recurring role on the upcoming second season. She’ll play Vanessa, a smart woman who has an innocent look but might be deceptive; she throws herself into her work with reckless abandon.
Diaz, who has recurred on USA’s Complications and had guest spots on CBS’s Code Black and Criminal Minds, recently booked a supporting role in Behold My Heart, opposite Marisa Tomei, Timothy Olyphant, and Mireille Enos. She’s repped by Generate.
Tony-winner Ben Vereen has joined the cast of Fox’s ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW as Dr. Everett Scott, the uber intelligent, ex-science teacher who’s now working for the Bureau of Investigation looking into UFOs. He ends up at the castle while searching for his nephew, Eddie (played by Adam Lambert).
Jerry O’Connell is set for a comedic arc on the fourth season of ABC’s summer soap MISTRESSES. He will play Robert, the an aspiring actor and the manny for Yunjin Kim’s disastrous doctor Karen. The character, slated to appear in at least four episodes, will bring some hilarious moments and potentially an inappropriate love affair. O’Connell is also set to direct a handful of episodes.
Katia Juanita | Staff Writer