EXCLUSIVE: Appearing in a new role–producer–Frances McDormand has set at HBO a potential series adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Elizabeth Strout novel Olive Kitteridge. Separately, she has attached Diane Lane to star in a Nicole Holofcener-scripted feature adaptation of Laura Lippman’s crime novel Every Secret Thing. McDormand got both projects off the ground and while she will play the town’s seventh grade math teacher Olive Kitteridge if the pilot script Jane Anderson’s writing becomes an HBO series, McDormand doesn’t plan to appear on camera in Every Secret Thing.

Perhaps it’s being in the creative orbit of her writer/director husband Joel Coen, or a way to creatively fill the gaps between acting jobs while raising their family, but McDormand has self-started a producing venture that has no staff or company name. She has made two promising projects happen and has others percolating, including a stage musical. McDormand is using her own money to make the option deals.

McDormand optioned Olive Kitteridge before it won the Pulitzer last year. The book consists of 13 interconnected tales that involve the residents of a fishing village along the coast of Crosby, Maine. Anderson, whose HBO work includes writing/directing the Jessica Lange/Tom Wilkinson drama Normal–is weaving Strout’s storylines into a drama that has enough characters to allow McDormand to play the title role but still have time for her other acting obligations. Her acting deal’s being worked out but she will be exec producer. Strout will be a consulting producer.

After optioning Every Secret Thing, McDormand brought on as her producing partner Anthony Bregman, with whom she worked on the Holofcener-directed Friends with Money (he produced, she acted in it).

Every Secret Thing focuses on two pre-teenage girls sent home early from a birthday party for behaving badly. When they happen upon a baby in a carriage as they head home., the child ends up dead, the girls are put away for seven years and when they’re released, other children begin to disappear. Lane’s in line to play the detective trying to unravel the mystery. Holofcener has turned in the script, and McDormand and Bregman are looking for a director before they set it up.

McDormand is currently shooting Transformers 3, then moves right into This Must Be The Place, starring alongside Sean Penn in the Paolo Sorrentino-directed film that shoots in Dublin. McDormand then begins January rehearsals for the Broadway-bound production of the David Lindsay-Abaire play Good People, which opens March 3 with Daniel Sullivan directing. She plays a struggling South Boston woman who sees liberation through rekindling a relationship with a former boyfriend who escaped the neighborhood and made his fortune in a dubious manner. McDormand’s repped by WME and D/F Management.

stumped
4 years
i love frances mcdormand and i especially loved strout's novel olive kitteredge. there is no way that...
seriously? not emancipated
4 years
If you knew her, you'd know that Fran is smart as hell, and her choice to produce...
Stephanie
4 years
If Holofcener wrote the script why wouldn't she attach herself as director? She's certainly capable.