March 13, 2012 by Mike McNamara
HOMETOWN HULU: Two well-known Wisconsin natives returned home to film Hulu’s first original scripted series “Battleground” and it’s now available for your viewing pleasure. Executive producer JD Walsh calls this series following a fierce political race “a love letter to Madison, because the city meant so much to me.” Madison is where he met his co-executive producer, Marc Webb, director of indie hit “(500) Days of Summer” and the upcoming blockbuster “Amazing Spider-Man.” The relationship between Walsh and Webb began as first-graders at Randall Elementary School (say it with me: awwwww), continued as both moved to LA after school and ultimately led them back to Madison to film the thirteen-episode series. Enjoy this show early and often at http://www.hulu.com/battleground.
FINALLY EMPLOYED: As we reported earlier this year, the MTV series “Underemployed” is finally set to shoot eleven episodes in Chicago. Shooting has been pushed a month to May for the series following best friends struggling to cope with the reality of life after graduation. Though the pilot filmed in Chicago, there had been uncertainty as to where the series would shoot until MTV confirmed it for Chicago earlier this year. Emmy-nominated executive producer and writer Craig Wright (also an ensemble member at Chicago-based A Red Orchid Theatre) is joined by director and fellow EP Troy Miller (“Parks & Recreation”).
SAY HELLO TO HARVEY: Best-selling author, radio host and comedian Steve Harvey will be bringing an hour-long weekday show to Chicago, to be produced at the Channel 5 studios in the NBC Tower. The show will focus on “relationship themes,” such as parenting, romance and marriage… and I’m guessing it will also be funny. Welcome, Steve!
HOSPITAL VISIT: Michael Dinner loves Chicago and we love him back. After directing the A&E series “The Beast” here in 2009 and the pilot “Powers” last summer, Dinner returns this spring with another pilot, this one for Sony/Fox, tentatively titled “Hospital.” Jordana Spiro, best known for the set-in-Chicago-but-barely-shot-in-Chicago comedy “My Boys,” is set to star as a female doctor who also works for the Chicago mob. She will be joined by “Friday Night Lights” star and Evanston native Zach Guilford.
SPEAKING OF POWERS: A bit of a shakeup with the FX pilot as co-star Lucy Punch is no longer available for “Powers,” leaving camp for the Fox comedy “Ned Fox Is My Manny” (speaking of camp). Yet fear not! “Powers” comic creator Brian Bender says “though Lucy Punch has moved on, Powers is not dead… new scripts have been ordered…” I’ll have more news for you next month!
BOSS UNDERWAY: The Golden Globe Award winning series (Best Actor, Kelsey Grammer) begins shooting ten episodes on March 19th. Excited to see what this show has in store for season two… Side note: special thanks to UPM Josh Throne and Production Supervisor Vail Romeyn for stopping by the Midwest Independent Film Festival earlier this month for our Producers Panel!
Is your film heading into production? Please drop me a note at email@example.com and tell me all about it. I’ll do my best to include it in “The Call Sheet.”
Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival. Follow the fest at www.twitter.com/midwestfilm. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.