Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
HBO’s Tilda, the very evidently Nikki Finke-inspired series spearheaded by director Bill Condon, may be edging further into The Devil Wears Prada territory. Diane Keaton is already on board as Tilda Watski, “the most feared woman in Hollywood,” and now Ellen Page is signing on to play Carolyn, a studio assistant who falls under Tilda’s spell.
Nikki Finke’s site Deadline appropriately broke the casting news, and more fully describes Page’s character as “a morally conflicted creative assistant caught between following the corporate culture of the studio she works for and following Tilda, who has taken a keen interest in her.”
Deadline kindly skirts the fact that Tilda is very obviously based on Finke. But that may be due to the fact that Finke negotiated with the producers to get a paycheck for acting as a ‘consultant’ to the series — essentially giving her blessing to the show rather than suing the producers.
To what degree is the main character actually based on Finke, rather than being vaguly inspired by her? THR reviewed a draft of the pilot script not long ago:
The Condon/Mort script describes Tilda as “50ish” with “long blonde hair, the last vestige of the prep school girl she once was,” and a demeanor that alternates between charming and monstrous (“I’d fire you because you’re a pathetic douche bag who fucks assistants and then replaces them,” she barks at the studio exec). She has emotional issues and is agoraphobic (her groceries are being delivered in one scene), preferring to stay inside because “I just find it uncomfortable to run into the people I write about,” she says. There hasn’t been a picture taken of Tilda for years. Oh, and she was fired from Newsweek and once had to sell her car to pay back taxes.
Those are all characteristics of Finke and events from her own life. And if they’re keeping to the idea that she rarely leaves home, then Page will no doubt have to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to moving the plot around. She could end up being the main character, which might explain why she’s taken the gig. (Page also has another series brewing with HBO: Stitch N’Bitch, with Alia Shawkat.) But the main role could still be a fun one for Keaton, and I look forward to the possible parade of in-jokes and other movie blogger references.