Rake, the legal drama that has Greg Kinnear attached to star and co-executive produce, has landed at Fox with a pilot production commitment with series penalty. The deal comes after interest from both broadcast and cable networks. Paul Attanasio, originally attached as showrunner when Rake was taken out a month ago, is no longer involved because of other TV and feature commitments; just last week, he was tapped to rewrite a Scarface remake for Universal. Rake is closing in on a new showrunner.
The project, a U.S. version of the popular Australian comedic drama, is produced by Sony Pictures TV and Essential Media, the company behind the original series, and will be written by the Australian series’ co-creator Peter Duncan. It 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 most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all. With its procedural setting, comedic overtones and a brilliant but self-destructive character at the center, the project is reminiscent of Fox’s long-running medical drama House, making the network a suitable home for Rake.
Executive producing the U.S. adaptation are Duncan and Essential Media’s Richard Roxburgh and Ian Collie.
The original series, co-created by Duncan, Roxburgh and Charles Waterstreet and co-written by Duncan and Andrew Knight, premiered on Australia’s ABC 1 in 2010 and is 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.
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 Duncan are with CAA.