Skip to main content

Steve Coogan Picked To Replace Philip Seymour Hoffman In Happyish

When it comes to actors who can display equal amounts of warmth, dramatic emotion and comedic pathos, Philip Seymour Hoffman was at the top of the game, and his death left a glaring hole in the genre-morphing thespian community. Thankfully, Showtime has found a more than suitable replacement for Hoffman for their upcoming dramedy pilot Happyish: hilarious British comedian Steve Coogan.

For Happyish, Coogan will play Thom Payne, a 44-year-old guy who really feels his age once a 25-year-old waltzes in as his new boss. The youthful exec rattles off buzzwords that Thom isn’t familiar with and he starts to feel like he’s being outpaced. He might be able to turn himself to catch up with the world around him, but first he has to find his path towards happiness. This sounds fun already, and it’ll go over even better if they get someone like Workaholics’ Adam DeVine to play his boss. I think I just created comedy heaven.

As the press release puts it, Happyish is "a comedic, soul-searching examination of our pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that might just be the very thing causing our unhappiness in the first place.” One should expect nothing less from a Showtime series, and Coogan is the perfect kind of acting chameleon to make it work. He’s probably best known for playing the cluelessly garish Alan Partridge across several TV series and even a feature film, but he’s attracted huge critical acclaim in recent years for his two The Trip films and supplemental series, and for Steven Frears’ 2013 drama Philomena, a film that also earned Coogan a screenplay Oscar nomination.

For its creator, Happyish boasts author and regular This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander, who wrote and will executive produce the pilot. Director Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You, The Office) will direct the initial episode. Hopefully this won’t hew too closely to the ideas and ideals presented by Peter Chelsom’s recent comedic drama Hector and the Search for Happiness, or even Gabriele Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness.

Beyond his two Trip projects this year, Coogan also has a role coming up in Shawn Levy’s sequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, where he’ll be reprising his role as Octavius. He also stars in Elaine Constantine’s soul music drama Northern Soul, which came out last week in the U.K. And with any luck, we will have embraced him on American television in 2015.

Showtime will begin production on Happyish this December in New York City, the most happyish place on Earth.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.