Oscar nominated writer and TV favorite Steve Coogan will be the new lead in Showtime's darkly comedic half-hour “Happyish.”
The new pilot for “Happyish” will shoot in New York City this December, with Ken Kwapis directing from a script by Shalom Auslander.
Coogan is, of course, replacing the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who starred in the original “Happyish” pilot. That version of “Happyish,” directed by John Cameron Mitchell, was ordered to series in January 2014, just weeks before Hoffman's death.
The “Alan Partridge” and “Philomena” star will play Thom Payne, a 44-year-old man told by his 25-year-old boss that he's in need of “rebranding” and told by a corporate head hunter that has a “low joy ceiling.” While the main character's name hasn't been altered, I'm told that the character has been reconceived from the Hoffman version to fit Coogan's persona.
“Steve”s range is astounding – he is a comedy legend, a gifted satirist, and he possesses the unique combination of talents this role demands,” Auslander blurbs.
Back in July at the Television Critics Association press tour, Showtime President David Nevins addressed the status of “Happyish” several times in remarks to the press.
“I now am sitting on five scripts from Shalom that I think are brilliant. So if I can cast it the right way, it”s something I will probably make, but there”s no guarantees. You know, it”s got to be perfectly put together,” Nevins told reporters. He later added that even with the right star, “Happyish” wouldn't necessarily go straight-to-series, which it indeed has not.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's name wasn't mentioned in the Showtime press release announcing Coogan's casting.