Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker is lining himself up a fairly high profile television gig. THR reports that Walker will lead an HBO drama pilot called The Missionary. The series takes place during the 1960s and centers on an American missionary who gets caught up in Cold War intrigue while helping a young woman escape East Berlin. Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Levinson, and Mark Wahlberg—who are clearly fans of Showtime’s Homeland—will executive produce the pilot while Charles Randolph will pen the script.
Walker had been set to lead the 15th century supernatural pic The Great Wall alongside Henry Cavill before that project was postponed due to financing issues. Edward Zwick has since dropped out as director, so it’s unlikely The Great Wall will retain the same cast if/when it gets going again. A series order decision on The Missionary won’t be made until the pilot is finished, and as we saw with The Corrections even the highest caliber of talent doesn’t guarantee that HBO will give the go-ahead for a full series. Nevertheless, this is one to keep an eye on.
Breaking Bad‘s breakout star, the Emmy-winning Aaron Paul, is in talks to play the lead in HBO’s newly piloted Cold War spy drama The Missionary. The series will come from writer Charles Randolph (The Interpreter), and has the involvement of familiar HBO producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, along with The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell (who is a friend of Randolph’s). For more on The Missionary, hit the jump.
I’m a fan of author Malcolm Gladwell. Even when I have trouble believing his theories, his writing is always sharp, concise, and entertaining. He’s clearly a smart guy and Disney wants to use his brainpower on David Arata’s script Hexum. According to Deadline, the script’s protagonist is “is a CIA threat assessment analyst, an alternative thinking brainiac who is relegated to a distant corner of the CIA where he assembles theories nobody pays attention to. By connecting a series of seemingly random occurrences, he uncovers a sinister adversary planning an imminent global threat. And of course, his biggest challenge is to get anybody to believe him.” For an agency centered around intelligence, it seems awfully stupid to not listen to the guy. His job title is “threat assessment analyst“. Wouldn’t it be wise to listen when he’s assessed and analyzed a threat?
Gladwell will be credited as an executive producer on the film and his contribution to the script will be injecting real logic into the analyst’s theories. If you’re interested in reading Gladwell’s work, I highly encourage you to pick up The Tipping Point. If you want to read one of his works now, check out his New Yorker piece on why NFL teams have difficulty drafting good quarterbacks.
Since Boardwalk Empire is arguably the best new series on TV this season, it’s not surprising that HBO is keen on getting another compelling period drama series off the ground. Deadline reports the cable network is working with Boardwalk Empire executive producer Stephen Levinson, Entourage executive producer Mark Wahlberg, author Malcolm Gladwell and screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Interpreter) on a series set during the Cold War. Few details are known about the untitled series, but the basic plot is said to follow a missionary who becomes involved in the CIA. Sounds mildly interesting, and since it’s not TV (it’s HBO), there’s likely something great in the works here.
Details on The CW’s attempt to ride on the coattails of Glee after the jump.
Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most exciting authors working today. His books, “The Tipping Point”, “Blink”, and “Outliers” are all fascinating studies that combine sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, and comes up with a unique approach delivered as a compelling narrative.
On the other side, Al Pacino is one of the worst actors working today. He’s become a parody of himself, reliable for looking strung-out and ready to yell at a moment’s notice. The seething intensity he brought to his early work of “The Godfather” and “Dog Day Afternoon” has been lost to eardrum-shattering shouts from a constantly-hoarse larynx. He also resembles an old Jewish woman, which is weird.
But the two shall meet in Stephen Gaghan’s adaptation of Gladwell’s “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”. The book is about how various experts can instantly identify a solution even if they cannot immediately verbalize their conclusion. The miniature stories within the book are fascinating and when the project was first announced, I wondered what Gaghan would turn into a feature film.