EXCLUSIVE: After years of courtship by TV networks, Greg Kinnear has committed to doing a series. The Oscar-nominated actor is attached to star and co-executive produce a U.S. version of the popular Australian legal comedic drama Rake. House executive producer Paul Attanasio will executive produce through his Atelier banner will and supervise the script, which will be written by the Australian series’ co-creator Peter Duncan. In an unusual move, the Sony Pictures TV-produced project is currently being shopped to both broadcast and cable networks. I hear all major broadcast nets are taking the pitch, but it is not clear whether the show will end up on network or cable.
Rake follows the chaotic world of a criminal defense lawyer, Cleaver Greene (Kinnear). Brilliant, iconoclastic and innately self-destructive, he has a mind-numbing lack of discretion and a total inability to pause before speaking his mind. From bigamists to cannibals and everything in between, the clients Cleaver loves the most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all.
The original series, co-created by Peter Duncan, Richard Roxburgh and Charles Waterstreet and co-written by Duncan and Andrew Knight, premiered on Australia’s ABC 1 in 2010 and is currently airing its second season. It stars Roxburgh and has been able to attract high-profile talent as guest stars — as evident from the trailer below — including Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill. Duncan and Attanasio will executive produce the adaptation with Roxburgh and Ian Collie.
Since his early days as a talk-show host, Kinnear has been focused on features, earning an Oscar nomination for As Good As It Gets. He tested the TV waters the last two years with a starring role in the miniseries The Kennedys and a guest spot on Modern Family. Both earned him Emmy nominations. Kinnear, whose latest movie Writers premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and Attanasio are with CAA.