Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) is set to star in the lead role and executive produce the twisted Showtime comedy pilot Trending Down. Acclaimed actress Kathryn Hahn (Revolutionary Road) will also star in the pilot as Lee Payne, Thom Payne's (Hoffman) wife. Trending Down is a blistering attack on our youth-obsessed culture, and a darkly comic examination of what it means to matter. Or matter not. The project centers on Thom Payne, a man facing his own obsolescence after his advertising agency is taken over. The pilot is set to begin filming on the East Coast this fall, and marks the third pilot pick-up from the Network this year. As previously announced, SHOWTIME picked up the drama pilots The Vatican and The Affair, and gave a series commitment to Penny Dreadful earlier this year.
Created, written and executive produced by author and This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander, Trending Down was developed by Ken Kwapis, who will executive produce, and Alexandra Beattie, who will co-executive produce, under their In Cahoots banner. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) will direct the pilot. Philip Seymour Hoffman and producing partner Emily Ziff will also executive produce under their Cooper's Town Productions banner.
Here's what creator Shalom Auslander had to say about the show.
"We are taking a markedly unconventional approach to process and content - a cross between the BBC series model and a theater workshop. And a meth lab. I wasn't particularly interested in doing TV, and fortunately, neither was Phil. When Showtime said they weren't either, we knew we had something. We don't know what that is, but at least we know what it isn't."
On his birthday, Thom Payne gets the gift of insignificance and also a new boss. He suspects his ED pills are interfering with his anti-depressants, leaving him with neither happiness nor... happiness. In a culture that reveres youth - a culture he helped create - Thom needs to figure out what his purpose is now that he's halfway to death and nobody cares what he thinks. Because in a world where any Kardashian is trending up, perhaps the wise among us would heartily embrace trending down.
Philip Seymour Hoffman has The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man opening in theaters this fall. He was most recently seen in The Master and A Late Quartet. Hoffman made his feature directorial debut with Jack Goes Boating which was produced by his company, Cooper's Town Productions, and based on the play of the same name. His other film credits include The Ides of March, Moneyball, Doubt, The Savages, Charlie Wilson's War and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. It was Hoffman's performance in Capote, directed by Bennett Miller and also produced through Cooper's Town Productions, which earned him an Academy Award. An accomplished actor on the Broadway stage as well, Hoffman starred in the recent revival of Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey Into Night and True West.
Kathryn Hahn will play the role of will play Lee, Thom's wife and mother to their six-year-old son Julius. Honest and direct to a considerable fault, Lee believes that people are good and the world can be a better place, which is probably why she is so pissed off: because we aren't, and it can't. But she loves Thom, and Thom loves her, even though they both despise themselves. Hahn's television credits include Parks and Recreation, Girls, Hung, Crossing Jordan and Childrens' Hospital. Her feature film credits include Revolutionary Road, Our Idiot Brother, Our Idiot Brother, Step Brothers, The Holiday, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days.