While this morning’s partial reveal of 2014's Toronto International Film Festival screenings was noticeably missing Alejandro González Iñárritu’s highly anticipated comedy Birdman, the director’s upcoming small-screen effort One Percent is at the center of some excellent casting news. The Media Rights Capital-produced series has targeted Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank, Oscar-nominated actor Ed Harris, and Hangover star Ed Helms, and each of them are in various stages of negotiations to join what will presumably be a prestige-laden show.
Should all go according to plan, the hour-long One Percent would take place within the world of organic farming – what? – and would see Helms and Swank playing a married couple who are having problems keeping their business above water, which of course leads to personal problems. As Deadline reports, Harris would star as the family patriarch, though it doesn’t say whose father he would play.
That isn’t much to go on, and doesn’t really hint too directly at what the title means. Is this the dreaded Occupation protesters’ “one percent,” or does it refer to something involving the farming community? Maybe that’s the percentage of startup businesses that actually stay open after a certain period of time. Regardless of what this plain-sounding story ends up being, I’m willing to trust that Iñárritu and this trio of actors wouldn’t team up on a complete waste of time.
Iñárritu will indeed be directing the series from a screenplay written with Birdman collaborators Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giacobone and Armando Bo. MRC is expected to shop the series around in the coming weeks, probably trying to secure a straight-to-series order rather than going the pilot route. MRC, who worked with Seth MacFarlane on Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West, snagged a two-season order for MacFarlane’s upcoming live-action comedy for Starz, and they're also one of the companies behind Netflix’s House of Cards, which was naturally also granted an all-at-once series order.
Should One Percent go through, this would be Swank’s first TV series since starring on Beverly Hills 90210 in the late 1990s. She hasn’t been in a lot of movies lately, either, having most recently starred in Philip Noyce and HBO Films’ made-for-TV drama Mary and Martha. She’ll soon be seen in Tommy Lee Jones’ western The Homesman and in George C. Wolfe’s caregiver drama You’re Not You.
Harris, meanwhile, starred in the at-long-last recently released thriller Snowpiercer and voiced a character for the in-theaters animation Planes: Fire & Rescue. He’s got an assortment of upcoming projects, including Michael Almereyda’s modernized Shakespeare epic Cymbeline, Michael Berry’s border drama Frontera, Jaume Collet-Serra’s hitman thriller Run All Night and Pamela Romanowsky’s adaptation of Stephen Elliott’s memoir The Adderall Diaries, which is currently filming. Oddly enough, Harris has never had a leading TV role.
Helms, who for years played Dunder Mifflin’s most bluegrassy employee on The Office, last appeared in theaters nationwide in We’re the Millers, but can be found on VOD in David Wain’s clever rom-com spoof They Came Together. He’ll next be seen in Joe Carnahan’s Stretch, assuming that film ever gets released, and will be heard in the upcoming Captain Underpants animated adaptation.