EXCLUSIVE: HBO has had success with limited drama series with big-name feature actors attached from the get-go, like True Detective, which the network bought with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson on board, and more recently Big Little Liars, shepherded by and starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, which swept the Emmys this year.
As a follow-up, the premium cable network is developing I Know This Much Is True, an eight-episode limited drama series starring and executive produced by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), from FilmNation Entertainment (Arrival).
Like Big Little Lies, I Know This Much Is True is based on a popular book, the 1998 novel by bestselling author Wally Lamb, which was was an Oprah’s Book Club pick that year.
Written and directed by filmmaker Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), I Know This Much Is True is described as an epic family saga that explores the American identity following the parallel lives of twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Ruffalo will pull double duty, starring as both brothers.
Ruffalo and Lamb, who have been collaborating on a TV adaptation of the book for the past two years, executive produce with Cianfrance as well as Ben Browning & Glen Basner of indie film company FilmNation.
This marks Ruffalo’s return to HBO where he starred in and co-executive produced the movie The Normal Heart, which earned him an acting Emmy nomination. He also shared in The Normal Heart‘s Best TV Movie Emmy win.
The three-time Oscar nominee (most recently for Spotlight in 2o16) and Tony nominee will next reprise his Marvel’s Avengers franchise role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok. Ruffalo is repped by Lighthouse Management and Media, UTA and Keith Klevan.
Cianfrance’s feature credits along with 2010’s Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams also include The Place Beyond the Pines and The Light Between Oceans. Cianfrance, who won a DGA Award this year for best commercial director, is developing an American West feature about the history of the Comanche wars for Warner Bros, which is slated to film in 2018. He is repped by CAA, manager Jamie Patricof and attorney Micheal Schenkman.
FilmNation Entertainment recently produced breakout box office hit The Big Sick.