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It's been more than 10 years since Jonathan Franzen released The Corrections and set the world on fire, revealing both a bold new literary talent and a book that seemed to capture everything about the malaise of late-90s America, from the generation gap between Greatest Generation-age parents and their overly entitled children to the diminished power of blue-collar workers. It was published in 2001, 10 days before 9/11, but continued to resonate throughout the Bush years and beyond; and though Scott Rudin has been attempting to turn the book into a movie since before it was even published, the timing seems as right now as ever.
Rudin has turned his focus from a feature film to an HBO series, with Noah Baumbach attached to direct, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest set to play the aging parents, and now one more key cast member on board. Deadline reports that Ewan McGregor has agreed to play Chip, the middle son of the family who fancies himself an intellectual and author, but as we meet him is mooching off an ex-girlfriend and nursing his wounds after getting fired from a professorship. Eventually Chip winds up working with some Lithuanian gangsters in an Internet-based pyramid scheme, but because The Corrections is a deeply complex and wonderful novel, he's not even the worst-behaving member of the family, and you root for him throughout despite yourself.
Two main roles remain to be cast, with actors needed to play oldest son Gary-- a Philadelphia finance guy trapped with a family that resents him-- and youngest daughter Denise-- a chef who almost deliberately sends her life into a tailspin as the book goes on. The Corrections is a massive book that will have no problem filling up an HBO series, but it's unclear if the series will expand on stories hinted at in Franzen's book, or work more like a miniseries that spends 8 or 10 episodes total telling the story. Either way the cast is shaping up to be phenomenal, and hopefully well worth the wait.
(Ewan McGregor image via Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com)