Earlier this year, we were shocked to hear of the death of acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was and still is a great loss to the world of entertainment. While some of his work in films like The Hunger Games franchise and completed productions God’s Pocket and A Most Wanted Man remained intact, there were some projects that suddenly lost an integral part of their cast.
Now one of those projects is marching forward as Showtime has announced that their completed and praised pilot for a new series called “Happyish” will be reshot. Philip Seymour Hoffman was in one of the lead roles, so it’s no surprise that his death put the future of the entire show up in the air. But now the network has announced that Hamlet 2 and The Trip star Steve Coogan will replace Hoffman on the series.
Showtime made the announcement, describing Coogan’s character like this:
Coogan will star in the lead role of Thom Payne, a 44 year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25-year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital,” “social” and “viral.” Is he in need of a “rebranding,” as his mentor insists, or does he just have a “low joy ceiling,” as his corporate headhunter suggests? Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Maybe, after 44 years on this ludicrous planet, settling for happyish is the best one can expect.
The show itself is described as “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.” Sounds like something that Hoffman would have made truly enjoyable, but Coogan is no slouch in the acting department, and should make for a fine replacement.
As for the rest of the cast, Kathryn Hahn (This is Where I Leave You, Step Brothers) plays Payne’s wife Lee and Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Five-Year Engagement) plays Payne’s boss. They’ll all be directed in New York later this year by “The Office” executive producer and director Ken Kwapis, who is also executive producing the series. However, while the previous pilot resulted in a series order, that does not apply to this new version and Showtime is waiting to see the new pilot before making a decision.
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