‘Good People’: Ian Harding Cast In Amazon Comedy Pilot From Lee Daniels & Whitney Cummings

EXCLUSIVE: Pretty Little Liars fan favorite Ian Harding is set as a series regular opposite Whitney Cummings in Good People, Amazon’s half-hour comedy pilot from Empire co-creator Lee Daniels and 2 Broke Girls co-creator Cummings, Amazon Studios and Fo…

‘Oh Mercy’ Film Review: Is This Cop Drama a Pilot In Disguise?

As one of the Cannes Film Festival’s favorite sons, Arnaud Desplechin has been a fixture on the Croisette for more than 20 years.

The director has had six films play in competition, and several others in sidebars. He served on the jury in 2016 and opened the festival with 2017’s “Ismael’s Ghosts.”

For longtime festival-goers, the prospect of another year in Cannes means another chance to catch up with this idiosyncratic auteur, whose work has always been defined by its looseness, as well as its ramshackle assembly of old-time film techniques, clipped pace and intellectual digressions.

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Compared to all that has preceded it, “Oh Mercy,” which premiered in Cannes on Wednesday, is his most unconventional film to date – precisely because it feels so very conventional.

A straight-down-the-line police procedural about a group of cops trying to get to the bottom of a grisly crime, the film feels more like a TV pilot than anything else, centering on an engaging and charismatic lead as he works out his latest case.

French star Roschdy Zem (“Days of Glory”) anchors the film as Captain Daoud, an Algerian transplant making his home in France’s working-class northern city of Roubaix (where Desplechin sets most of his films, as experienced Cannes-heads are no doubt aware).

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For the first half, we follow the solemn but soft-spoken inspector as he works through a number of cases, all of them offering a window onto this somber city-in-decline, but the film’s focus hones in on a specific murder case as the narrative unfolds.

In an interesting move, the perpetrators are never in doubt; when investing the murder of an 80-year-old woman, the intuitive Daoud quickly pins the blame on her neighbors, a junkie couple played by Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier. So instead of trying to figure out the culprits, the cops look to piece together the act itself – bringing the two women in and interrogating them separately and then together.

“Oh Mercy” opens with a series of title cards noting that all that will follow is true – indeed, Desplechin based his film on a 2002 documentary, and worked the (real) women’s direct interrogation transcripts into his script. Of course, by casting two well-known actresses as characters whose guilt the film never questions, Desplechin signals his interest in something more than straight-ahead detective inquiry.

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Instead, he uses the dual interrogations as a dissection of relationship power dynamics, tracking the shifting loyalties of two women who first put up a unified front that soon gives way as each tries to secure the best terms possible for themselves. In that sense, the film uses the police procedural structure as platform to explore a real-time relationship breakdown.

It’s an interesting feint on Desplechin’s part, but in the end the idea actually reinforces the procedural form, rather than subverting it. We’re left with a particularly interesting case that comes to its natural resolution, anchored by a sympathetic inspector we could happily see again – in short, it would make a very good pilot.

Of course, it probably isn’t one. I don’t think a filmmaker as wiry and unpredictable as Desplechin is looking to spend more time in the Captain Daoud-iverse, so what’s the point of begrudging him this diverting, if rather minor-key, change of pace? After all, as good Cannes-heads know, he’ll be back with something else soon enough.

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Martin Short Cast In Amazon Comedy Pilot ‘Good People’ From Lee Daniels & Whitney Cummings

Martin Short has signed on to the cast of Good People, Amazon’s half-hour comedy pilot from Empire co-creator Lee Daniels and 2 Broke Girls co-creator Cummings, who also stars, Amazon Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios. In addition to Cummings, he j…

Martin Short Joins Amazon’s Lee Daniels-Whitney Cummings Pilot ‘Good People’

Martin Short has joined the cast of “Good People,” the Amazon comedy pilot from Lee Daniels and Whitney Cummings.

He joins recently cast Greg Kinnear and Lisa Kudrow, as well as Cummings, who will star, direct and co-write. Per Amazon, the half-hour comedy follows three generations of women working in the Ombudsman’s office of a college and navigating “the current cultural climate, the concept of feminism across different generations, and the struggle to reconcile socially constructed ideas with current ethical views regarding complex issues such as sex, race, class and gender.”

Short will play Dean Ed Brown, who is described as “the self-satisfied Dean of Sacramento University who has no concept of what’s appropriate. He is of the ‘old guard’ in terms of how he sees the world, and his casual sexism causes constant problems for the Ombudsman’s office.”

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Kudrow will play Lynn Steele, “The University Ombudsman, a tired, mercurial force of nature who finds herself being seen as out of touch by millennials, even though she has been a champion of women her entire career.”

Kinnear will play Dr. Paul Keating, “the incredibly charismatic and charming philosophy professor at Sacramento University. He’s Indiana Jones meets Joan Didion. He causes problems for Lynn Steele (Kudrow) and Hazel Miller (Cummings) because of his unorthodox methods of teaching and refusal to acquiesce to ‘PC’ rules.”

“Good People” is created, written and executive produced by Cummings and Daniels. Lisa Kudrow will also serve as an executive producer. Amazon Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios will produce.

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Short won his first Emmy in 1982 while working on Canada’s “SCTV,” which led to him being cast on “Saturday Night Live” in 1984. He soon became a fan-favorite for characters like Ed Grimley, lawyer Nathan Thurm and “legendary songwriter” Irving Cohen. He’s known for films including “Father of the Bride,” “Three Amigos,” “Pure Luck” “Inherent Vice” and “Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.” Short also won a Tony for his stage role in the revival of “Little Me.” His upcoming projects include providing the voice of the father in the animated movie “The Willoughbys.”

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Greg Kinnear Joins Lisa Kudrow in Amazon’s Lee Daniels-Whitney Cummings Pilot

Greg Kinnear joined the cast of “Good People,” the Amazon comedy pilot from Lee Daniels and Whitney Cummings.

“Good People” stars Lisa Kudrow and Cummings, who will also direct and co-write. Per Amazon, the half-hour comedy follows three generations of women working in the Ombudsman’s office of a college and navigating “the current cultural climate, the concept of feminism across different generations, and the struggle to reconcile socially constructed ideas with current ethical views regarding complex issues such as sex, race, class and gender.”

Kinnear will play Dr. Paul Keating, described as “the incredibly charismatic and charming philosophy professor at Sacramento University. He’s Indiana Jones meets Joan Didion. He causes problems for Lynn Steele (Kudrow) and Hazel Miller (Cummings) because of his unorthodox methods of teaching and refusal to acquiesce to ‘PC’ rules.”

Also Read: Lisa Kudrow Cast in Amazon’s Comedy Pilot From Lee Daniels and Whitney Cummings

Kudrow will play Lynn Steele, “The University Ombudsman, a tired, mercurial force of nature who finds herself being seen as out of touch by millennials, even though she has been a champion of women her entire career.”

“Good People” will be executive produced by Kudrow, Cummings and Daniels, who will also direct the pilot and write. It’s produced by Amazon Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios.

Kinnear recently co-starred opposite Isabelle Hubbert and Marisa Tomei in Ira Sachs’ “Frankie,” which premiered this week in Cannes. His upcoming projects include the starring role in his feature directorial debut, “Phil,” which will be released July 5 on VOD film distributor Quiver, as well as “Brian Banks” and “The Red Sea Diving Resort,” coming later this summer. His recent television roles include appearances on “House of Cards” and Jordan Peele’s “Twilight Zone.” He is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and attorney Rick Genow.

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