Noah Baumbach has been on something of a tear recently, knocking out the whimsical “Frances Ha,” the now-playing tale of middle age crisis “While We’re Young,” and the upcoming “Mistress America” which recently premiered at Sundance (review here). But it might be easy to forget that somewhere in there, the director dipped his toe in the world of television, shooting a pilot for HBO. The project was a star-studded adaptation of Jonathan Franzen‘s acclaimed “The Corrections,” with Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig all part of the ensemble. You would think the series would be a no brainer, but in the spring of 2012, HBO passed. So what happened? Well, it’s a mix of Baumbach not falling into the rhythms of making drama for television and a package that HBO figured wasn’t worth the price tag.
“I don’t know that I appreciated how different it was from movies,” the director told Studio 360, and it was Baumbach who couldn’t negotiate his shooting style for the small screen. “I think I shot it too much like a movie. The real reason I think we didn’t go forward with it was it was too complex, and it was really too expensive for the kind of show it was going to be.”
“… we didn’t have dragons. It was the kind of show that most people would do for two cents and we were spending what ‘Game of Thrones‘ spends,” he added.
It’s certainly a bummer and while we wish we could see whatever he had put together, that’s not going to happen. “It was never finished. We shot a pilot, but we didn’t shoot a whole pilot, even,” Baumbach told us in 2012.
So file it under: What Could’ve Been. And this is a good reminder that not every filmmaker is acclimated to the world of television. Listen to Baumbach’s full talk with Studio 360 below.