31 October 2014

Book to Screen: Olive Kitteridge (HBO Miniseries)

Olive Kitteridge on HBOAs many of you know, I'm a big fan of HBO, which has aired some of the best original content seen on television (Deadwood and True Detective, for example). And because they bring the same excellent writing and quality production to their adaptations, I'm crazy excited about their upcoming (November 2 and 3) miniseries based on Elizabeth Stout's Olive Kitteridge, starring Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins.

The book Olive Kitteridge is a collection of linked stories that together make up a character study and examination of life in a small Maine town, often seen through the eyes of its eponymous character, a junior-high math teacher, known for her abrasiveness. Yet despite outward appearances, Olive is a complex, caring woman who fights bouts of depression, a disease that runs in her family.

Photo credit: HBO/Jojo WhildenThe emotionally strong Pulitzer Prize–winning book, with its unforgettable characters, follows Kitteridge family drama over the course of a quarter century, beautifully exploring the full arc of what it means to be human.

The writers of the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge were faced with turning a short story collection into a single entity. Emmy® winner Jane Anderson rose to the occasion, crafting a teleplay that focuses on the title character but respects Stout's original format. The miniseries is presented in four parts (two on Sunday, November 2, and two on Monday, November 3), each of which carry the name of one the collection's stories. "Pharmacy" and "Incoming Tide" open the miniseries, followed by "A Different Road" and "Security" on the second night.

Photo credit: HBO/Jojo WhildenDespite concentrating on only a few of the stories, Anderson's script, combined with the truly outstanding cast, promises to capture the essence of both the Kitteridges and small-town life. Director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) teams up with McDormand (an Academy Award® winner) and Jenkins (an Academy Award® nominee), who star as Olive and Henry Kitteridge. They are supported by a strong field of familiar actors, including Bill Murray, John Gallagher Jr., Rosemaire DeWitt, Jesse Plemons, and Ann Dowd. In addition, almost everyone on the crew, from the director of photography to the score's composer, is a major award winner or nominee.

Take a look at the trailer to get an overview of the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge. Then watch the short clip to take a peek at a Kitteridge family dinner.

Olive Kitteridge premieres on HBO on November 2 and 3. Check your local listings for air times in your area.

Thanks to HBO for providing the videos and stills. Photo credits: HBO/Jojo Whilden. (Click images to enlarge.)


rhapsodyinbooks 10/31/14, 7:54 AM  

I'm glad you reminded me about this, because Jim loves Frances Mc. so we will have to watch it I'm sure!

bermudaonion 10/31/14, 7:55 AM  

We don't get HBO so it'll be a while before I can see this.

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/31/14, 11:09 AM  

I am excited about this miniseries, too! I have set my DVR to record...and i suspect it will be a recording I will keep, at least for a while.

Thanks for sharing.

JaneGS 10/31/14, 5:14 PM  

Of all the books that would make great movies, when I was reading and enjoying this one, I never really thought that it would work on screen. Not only the short story format with not a lot of continuity plus the sharp edges of Olive herself--she's not very likeable, and you have to really live instead her head to feel sympathy/empathy with her.

It'll be interesting to see how it comes out.

Tina 11/1/14, 7:20 AM  

When this is available on Netflixks I will check it out. I like Frances McDormound and have enjoyed her performances in Coen Brothers movies.

Love Deadwood too! Wish they had finished the series out.

Karen White 11/1/14, 10:58 AM  

Heard this interview on NPR with Frances McDormand and really want to see this!

Sadly, we just downgraded our cable service (tired of giving TWC all that money) so I'll have to be patient and wait for it to show up on Netflix.

Thanks for the clips. She is an amazing actress, and I love what she says in the interview above about women and aging and the power that's in our faces and bodies when we don't distort them with plastic surgery and starving ourselves.

Trisha 11/2/14, 9:42 AM  

I, sadly, still haven't read the book, and I know I'm missing out.

Daryl 11/2/14, 3:06 PM  

did you know that McDormand optioned the stories and put the creative team together? Yup.

thecuecard 11/2/14, 6:07 PM  

I loved the book and this mini-series looks good too. Like the video clips. McDormand is always terrific and should make a great Olive. Only prob? I don't get HBO but perhaps it'll show up other places too. thanks

jilllora 11/3/14, 10:47 AM  

It's at times like this when I wish I had cable. And a tv. :-D I love Frances McDormand and I bet she makes a perfect Olive!

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