Showtime capped off a busy week of pilot casting by landing a pair of Emmy winners to topline its drama pilot “Billions.”
Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis will star in the pilot, which will shoot in New York City in early 2015.
Written by Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin, “Billions” is described a fictional drama that “takes a forensic look at the world of high finance by tracking the approaching collision between two titanic figures.”
Those figures are U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhodes (Giamatti) and hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis).
Showtime also announced that Neil Burger (“Limitless”) has signed on to direct the pilot.
An Oscar nominee for “Cinderella Man,” Giamatti has been making an aggressive push into TV in recent years. The “John Adams” Emmy winner earned Emmy nods for HBO's “Too Big to Fail” and earlier this year for “Downton Abbey.” While FX opted not to move forward on his drama pilot “Hoke,” Giamatti has had several TV productions in development, including a pair of limited series at FX through his Touchy Feely Films banner.
And Lewis and Showtime are old buddies after the “Band of Brothers” veteran earned a pair of Emmy nods and a 2012 win for his work on “Homeland.” He has “Wolf Hall” heading for PBS and while he was attached to co-star in the HBO miniseries “To Appomattox,” that project has been pushed back and reconfigured so many times I genuinely don't have a clue anymore if it has a cast or a production schedule.
A cast of Emmy-winning TV favorites doesn't necessarily mean anything at Showtime, as folks looking forward to seeing Kyle Chandler in “The Vatican” know, but that's still a powerhouse start to an ensemble.
Showtime announced earlier this week that Steve Coogan would play the lead in the half-hour comedy “Happyish,” taking over the role played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in an earlier pilot incarnation.