Showtime is prepping for the end of “Dexter” by signing impressive talent to new pilots and as well as a two-year deal with the serial killer drama’s showrunner Scott Buck to produce new content.
The first pilot, “Trending Down” is a comedy that will star Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”) as Thom Payne, a man facing his own obsolescence after his advertising agency is taken over, and who struggles to find his purpose in a world and a job that celebrates youth and pop culture. Kathryn Hahn (“Wanderlust”) is set to play his wife.
Showrunner Shalom Auslander (writer of “Foreskin’s Lament: A Memoir” and a “This American Life” contributor) had a couple quips about his unconventional approach to finding a home for his cultural critique. “We are taking a markedly unconventional approach to process and content – a cross between the BBC series model and a theater workshop. And a meth lab,” said Auslander. “I wasn’t particularly interested in doing TV, and fortunately, neither was Phil. When Showtime said they weren’t either, we knew we had something. We don’t know what that is, but at least we know what it isn’t.” John Cameron Mitchell will direct the pilot, which is set to shoot on the East Coast this fall.
The second pilot, “The Affair,” now has “Luther” star Ruth Wilson on board to play Alison, a young married woman who works in a pancake house and who is trying to piece her life back together in the wake of a tragedy. Dominic West (“The Wire,” “The Hours”) will play Noah, a father of four, who makes Alison question the choices she’s made and wonder whether there’s a way to start all over again. “The Affair,” is an exploration of two marriages and an affair that disrupts them, told separately from the male and female perspective. The hourlong drama project comes from the “In Treatment” team of Sarah Treem (“House of Cards”) and Hagai Levi, who have previously collaborated on “In Treatment.”
In addition to these two potential series, Showtime has another pilot order — “The Vatican,” a contemporary thriller from Paul Attanasio (“House”) set inside the Catholic Church whose cast was announced earlier. Kyle Chandler, Bruno Ganz, Anna Friel, Sebastian Koch, Matthew Goode and Ewen Bremner will star in the pilot, which is being directed by Ridley Scott.
Showtime also announced it would continue to work with “Dexter” showrunner Scott Buck after the show ends its current and final season, signing a two-year overall deal with Buck. Among the projects he has in development at the network is an adaptation of Matthew Specktor’s novel “American Dream Machine,” which “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will also executive produce and Specktor will write.