Scott Rudin is bouncing back from his disappointment over HBO’s decision to pass on The Corrections by getting the gears turning on another project with some serious literary pedigree. Rudin has just tapped Superbad helmer Greg Mottola to pen an adaptation of The Marriage Plot, the acclaimed novel from Pulitzer-winning The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex author Jeffrey Eugenides. Although the discussions at the moment are only about Mottola writing the film, his upcoming schedule suggests that he could possibly come on board to direct as well. More details after the jump.

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After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.

But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]

After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.

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Producer Scott Rudin is finally getting the ball rolling on his long-gestating family comedy The Pet, and he’s picked Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess to help out by taking over at the helm. Originally pitched by Matt Lieberman, the screenwriter behind Dimension Films’ remake of Short Circuit, The Pet revolves around a man who’s kidnapped by aliens. Once he arrives at the aliens’ home planet, he gets adopted by a family as a house pet. More after the jump.

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With the exception of True Blood creator Alan Ball’s very serious-sounding Banshee, today’s TV Bits is all about the funny. After the jump:

  • Dwight Schrute could leave Dunder Mifflin for Schrute Farms
  • Paul Feig will direct Goldie Hawn in HBO’s The Viagra Diaries
  • CBS orders a pilot written by and starring Bridesmaids‘ Rebel Wilson
  • Alan Ball sells an Amish country-set action drama to Cinemax
  • HBO decides to turn Indie Game: The Movie into a half-hour comedy

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HBO has developed quite a reputation for attracting high-profile, high-quality talent, with the likes of Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman leading shows on the network, and now they’ve brought on one of their biggest names yet. Ben Stiller has signed on to star, direct, and executive produce All Talk, a comedy from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, with Alan Alda in talks to co-star. Scott Rudin is set to executive produce with Foer, Stiller, and Eli Bush. More details after the jump.

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With David Fincher doing a lot of interviews for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo over the past few days, there is a good amount of talk out there about the possible second and third films that could follow Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher doesn’t yet know if he’ll direct those films — or he isn’t yet saying, at least. That’s something that likely won’t be announced until after the film has its first opening weekend, which is coming up in a couple days.

Whether or not those films happen, there are quite a few other projects in Fincher’s queue. Some are movies he might direct, like the Cleopatra film that would star Angelina Jolie, and the pilot for the Netflix series House of Cards. He’s also got 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea on the docket, and he’s still working as a producer on films like Black Hole (based on the Charles Burns graphic novel, not the Disney sci-fi film) and The Goon. He has offered slight updates on all those projects in the past couple days, and we’ve rounded up his quotes below. Read More »

In the decade since producer Scott Rudin snapped up the rights to Michael Chabon‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the project’s seen Sydney Pollack and Jude Law come and go, and Tobey Maguire, Jamie Bell, Natalie Portman, Andrew Garfield, and Ryan Gosling all floated as potential stars — but in truth, we’re no closer to seeing a big-screen adaptation now than we were back in 2000. If director Stephen Daldry has his way, though, we may just be getting a small-screen version of it. Specifically, an HBO miniseries version of it. Well, maybe.

Set mostly in ’30s and ’40s New York, Chabon’s book follows the lives of two cousins — Brooklynite Sam Clay and Czech refugee Joe Kavalier — who find fame and fortune in the Golden Age of the comic book industry. More on Daldry’s ideas for the property after the jump.

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Hollywood’s had a long history with botched adaptations of beloved novels, but from here it looks like fans of Jonathan Franzen‘s acclaimed book The Corrections have nothing to worry about. After years of attempting to bring the story to the big screen, producer Scott Rudin eventually turned to HBO — and things have been shaping up nicely from there.

The Squid and the Whale writer-director Noah Baumbach signed on to helm and (with Franzen) pen the drama pilot earlier this fall, while Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest joined the project several weeks later. Now Ewan McGregor has boarded the series as well, in the role of Cooper and Wiest’s screwup middle child. More details after the jump.

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This past spring Mark Ruffalo said that he was looking at a role in Red Light Winter, a film based on the play of the same name by Adam Rapp (The L Word, Winter Passing), and a movie that would be brought into the world by Scott Rudin, the producer whose taste tends more genuinely toward the literary than almost anyone else working in the US right now.

Ruffalo told The Playlist “it’s the story of a writer and his best friend, and a kind of crazy love triangle they get into,” and more specifically the play is about two thirty-something friends who fall for the same prostitute in Amsterdam. Ruffalo and Billy Crudup play the friends, and now Kirsten Dunst will be their shared obsession. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Though the small screen retains an unfair reputation as a lesser medium — think of all the snobby types who’ll brag about not owning a television, but would never be so dismissive about books or movies — the truth is that the medium varies as much as any other. Today’s TV Bits runs the gamut from highbrow (a literary adaptation on HBO) to lowbrow (a modeling industry reality show on The CW), with plenty of stuff in between. After the jump:

  • Noah Baumbach’s Jonathan Franzen adaptation The Corrections is a go at HBO
  • HBO will offer an early look at its highly anticipated Luck next month
  • Fox puts new eps of Alcatraz on hold while it goes back for reshoots
  • Burt Reynolds signs on to guest star on FX’s Archer
  • Summer Glau joins Tricia Helfer on TNT’s Scent of the Missing
  • The CW announces start dates for its midseason shows

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