Last November, we heard that Ewan McGregor had signed on for HBO’s adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s critically acclaimed novel, The Corrections, joining Dianne Wiest and Chris Cooper on the cast, under the direction of Noah Baumbach.
Then back in January, the already terrific line-up was made even more impressive with the additions of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans, and Greta Gerwig.
Along with those castings, we got an idea of what we might expect from the project, with HBO planning a full four seasons, each ten episodes in length, if all goes well with the pilot – and with such talent on board, and the script co-written by Baumbach and Franzen himself, it’s hard to imagine how it could be anything but brilliant.
McGregor recently sat down with Collider whilst promoting his upcoming film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (due out here in the UK on 20th April), and in the process, spoke a little bit more about the project, and you can watch the full segment of the interview below.
The filming of the pilot episode has already finished, in a fifteen-day shoot in New York, and McGregor says that if all goes well and HBO pick up the pilot to full series, then shooting will recommence in New York in June, which is excellent news.
“It’s lovely writing, Noah and Jonathan Franzen wrote the scripts together, so it’s really good quality stuff. I enjoyed it very much, so if it goes, we’ll go back in June and shoot the series for four months in New York.”
In the interview, he says that he did have a week of doubt about doing a TV series, but after meeting all the talent on board, it sealed everything for him:
““I did have a one week of kind of ‘Oh my God it’s TV, should I do TV?’ After I went over to meet the director and Jonathan Franzen and Scott Rudin, the producer, I was totally in.”
“I just think it’s a quality piece of work and having the opportunity to play a character at that length will be really interesting. Over four years, four months of each year I’ll be exploring this guy Chip in that story, so it’ll be great.””
Franzen’s The Corrections is often heralded as one of the best American novels of the 21st Century, and having just finished reading it this afternoon, I can really see why, and am even more looking forward to seeing its adaptation than I already was.
Courtesy of Waterstones, the novel’s plot looks a little like this:
“From the author of ‘Freedom’, a panoramic vision of America at the beginning of the 21st century, seen through the turbulent lives of the Lambert family. The Corrections is now seen by many as one of the greatest American novels of the last decade. The Lamberts — Enid and Alfred and their three grown-up children — are a troubled family living in a troubled age. Alfred is ill and as his condition worsens the whole family must face the failures, secrets and long-buried hurts that haunt them if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs. Stretching from the Midwest in the mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of globalised greed, ‘The Corrections’ brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty into wild collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and New Economy millionaires. It announces Jonathan Franzen as one of the most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.”
If you have an opening in your current reading list, I highly recommend filling it by picking Franzen’s novel up. It is every bit as good as it’s been received, and this adaptation is definitely something to keep your eye on in the coming months. I have a feeling it could become one of the most talked-about TV series in the years to come.