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HBO Max’s Julia Child pilot has been forced to replace one of its key ingredients.
David Hyde Pierce, best known for playing Dr. Niles Crane on “Frasier,” has joined the cast as Julia’s devoted husband Paul Child. The role was initially meant to be played by British actor Tom Hollander, however, he stepped away from the project due to scheduling conflicts, sources say.
Julia herself will still be played fellow Brit Sarah Lancashire.
The pilot will also star Brittany Bradford as Alice, Associate Producer of the show “I’ve Been Reading” who champions Julia after her appearance; Fran Kranz as Russ, producer on the show “I’ve Been Reading” who begrudgingly joins Julia’s cooking show; Fiona Glascott as Judith, the editor with a knack for pulling manuscripts out of the reject pile and turning them into bestsellers; Bebe Neuwirth as Avis, Julia’s biggest champion, confidant and best friend; Isabella Rossellini in the guest star role of Simca, Julia’s co-author; and Jefferson Mays in the guest star role of Albert, the host of WGBH’s “I’ve Been Reading.”
Pierce’s other TV credits include the Norman Lear political satire “The Powers That Be.” On the film front, his previous work includes “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Down with Love,” “A Bug’s Life,” and “The Perfect Host.” He is represented by WME, attorney Philip Klein, and Peak Publicity.
The pilot, which is being produced by Lionsgate TV, will see Daniel Goldfarb serve as the writer and executive producer, with Chris Keyser set to executive produce and serve as showrunner. Charles McDougall will direct and executive produce, with Erwin Stoff and Kimberly Carver of 3 Arts Entertainment also executive producing. Todd Schulkin will be consulting producer on behalf of The Julia Child Foundation.
Joan Cusack was first attached to play the lead role when the pilot was announced back in September of last year. Should the project go to series, it would not be the first time Child had been portrayed onscreen, as Meryl Streep played the celebrated chef in the 2009 film “Julie & Julia.”
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