First there was Eastbound and Down, then there was Vice Principals, and now there’s The Righteous Gemstones. Yes indeed, details on Danny McBride and Jody Hill’s next HBO series have finally surfaced, as THR reports that McBride will write, executive produce, direct, and star in a pilot for a comedy called The Righteous Gemstones alongside the living legend John Goodman. The potential series chronicles the life of a famous televangelist family “with a long traditional of deviance, greed and charitable work, all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Goodman will play Eli Gemstone, the patriarch of the family and a force in the ministry game known for his aggressive salvation techniques, global ministries, and award-winning weekly television program. But Eli’s light is fading, and McBride fills the role of his eldest son Jesse, heir to the throne and a man who forges his own path. Jesse considers himself a “maverick” in the ministry game, and aims to expand upon the legacy that Eli has built.
Hill, who co-created, executive produced, directed, and co-wrote Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals, is executive producing alongside McBride through their Rough House Pictures banner, with frequent collaborator David Gordon Green also executive producing. I spoke with Hill recently about his upcoming Netflix film The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (which co-stars McBride) and while he was mum about details regarding their next HBO project, he did say McBride was spearheading it. Indeed, McBride made his directorial debut on two episodes of the excellent HBO comedy limited series Vice Principals, and he’s taking point on The Righteous Gemstones by helming the pilot.
McBride, Hill, and Green have formed a pretty tight-knit filmmaking group, to the point that through 18 episodes of Vice Principals, the three of them served as the show’s only directors. So we can reasonably expect Hill and Green to at least direct some of The Righteous Gemstone should HBO pick the pilot up to series.
Scheduling will be tricky as Goodman will be starring in the ABC Roseanne spinoff The Conners, which debuts on ABC this fall, but they could certainly put the pilot together this summer then shoot the full HBO series during Goodman’s hiatus. Regardless, this is a match made in heaven, and the choice of material here is inspired, so I do hope this pilot goes to series.