By Curt Wagner
4:30 PM CDT, April 20, 2011
Apparently Chicago politicians are hot—at least the fictional kind. They appear in Fox’s “The Chicago Code,” CBS’ “The Good Wife” and, this fall, in “Boss,” a new Starz series that will begin filming April 27 in the Windy City.
The cable network announced Wednesday that acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant will direct the first of eight episodes making up the drama’s debut season beginning in October. Kelsey Grammer plays Tom Kane, the Chicago mayor with dark secrets and Machiavellian ways of running his town.
A Starz spokesman said the series is not based on Mike Royko’s 1971 book, “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago,” about the rise of the first Mayor Daley and his use of the Chicago Democratic political machine. Still, Kane sounds at least a little bit like the current mayor’s father.
More news on the series from Starz:
Connie Nielsen will play Kane’s wife Meredith, a formidable Chicago power in her own right; Jeff Hephner as ambitious young politician, Alex Zajac; Hannah Ware as the Kanes’ estranged daughter, Emma; and Kathleen Robertson as Mayor Kane’s supremely organized aide, Kitty O’Neil.
“Boss” was created by Farhad Safinia, who is also an executive producer on the series, along with Grammer, Van Sant, Brian Sher, Stella Stolper, Richard Levine and Lyn Greene. Lionsgate Television is producing “Boss” in association with Grammer’s Gramnet Productions and Sher and Stolper’s Category 5 Entertainment.
“What drew us to ‘Boss’ is its almost classical dramatic story, full of complex, complicated characters and a story that will be fun to follow,” Starz Media Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said. “Kelsey Grammer as Kane is the perfect match of actor and role, and having a great storyteller like Gus Van Sant at the helm means this series will be unique as well as entertaining.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Starz and to collaborate with incredible talents like Kelsey Grammer, Gus Van Sant, Farhad Safinia and the gifted producers that surround them: Brian Sher, Stella Stolper, Richard Levine and Lyn Greene,” said Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television Group,
Grammer, who earned a Tony Awards nomination in 2010 for his starring role in the Broadway production of “La Cage Aux Folles,” is a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards winner for his portrayal of Frasier Crane in the long-running TV series “Cheers” and “Frasier.” His dramatic feature film credits include X-Men: The Last Stand and 15 Minutes. Grammer’s production company, Grammnet Productions, will be the studio on “Boss,” in association with Lionsgate Television.
Van Sant’s credits include Milk, Good Will Hunting (both of which earned him Oscar nominations for Best Director), Finding Forrester and To Die For. He also played himself in an episode of the television series “Entourage.” He is currently slated to direct the first episode of “Boss,” and possibly others during the first season as well.
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