Updated 10/23: Jessica Chastain has now been cast to replace Michelle Williams, who reportedly dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, in HBO’s version of “Scenes from a Marriage.” The limited series project marks a reunion for Chastain and co-star Oscar Isaac, who led JC Chandor’s 2014 film “A Most Violent Year.” Deadline first reported the news.
Earlier: The iconic 1973 miniseries “Scenes from a Marriage,” written and directed by Swedish master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, is getting the small-screen treatment, with a new English-language adaptation set for HBO and starring Michelle Williams and Oscar Isaac. The limited series will be helmed by “The Affair” co-creator Hagai Levi, along with Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res and Endeavor Content, and executive-produced by Isaac.
The series will transport the ’70s-set story of the Swedish original, which was condensed from its original six parts to a theater-friendly, three-hour movie in 1974, to America. Williams and Isaac will take on the roles originated by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, respectively, who played an affluent married couple whose marriage is charted, from disintegration to reconciliation and back, across a decade. Bergman based the saga on his own experiences, including his longtime relationship with muse and partner Ullmann, to whom he was married from 1965 to 1970. The film has been an endless font of inspiration for filmmakers from Woody Allen to Richard Linklater and Ari Aster, and even turned out a sequel with 2003’s “Saraband,” the last film by Ingmar Bergman, who died in 2007.
Series co-creator Hagai Levi will write and direct the series. Levi is no stranger to marital discord on television, as “The Affair” examined a marriage in crisis across five season on Showtime, ending last year. Michelle Williams is no stranger to this topic either, as her 2010 film “Blue Valentine” earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her searing turn as a woman struggling to extricate herself from a toxic marriage to Ryan Gosling. Last year, Williams picked up a Primetime Emmy for playing Bob Fosse’s beleaguered onetime wife and collaborator Gwen Verdon in the FX miniseries “Fosse/Verdon.”
Oscar Isaac, meanwhile, last appeared on HBO in the limited series “Show Me a Hero” in 2015, which earned him a Golden Globe. His upcoming projects include roles in Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” reboot, and Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter.”
According to Variety, a “Scenes from a Marriage” remake has been in the works for years, and a longtime dream project of Michael Ellenberg. Recently, Hagai Levi co-created the Israeli-American HBO miniseries “Our Boys,” which aired to acclaim on the network last summer.
HBO has not set a start date for production on “Scenes from a Marriage.”