Irish actor Chris O’Dowd has been cast as the lead in new HBO comedy ‘Family Tree’.
Written by Christopher Guest, the man behind such comedy ventures as ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’, the series will focus on Tom Chadwick, played by O’Dowd, who begins the search into his family tree after suffering heart ache and job loss.
The format will be similar to the mockumentary ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and will be presented as a documentary-comedy. O’Dowd’s character goes on a journey of finding out who he really is, uncovering a world of unusual family stories and characters.
The show has been ordered as a straight-to-series project by HBO, with additional casting expected to begin immediately. Guest wrote the script with his partner Jim Piddock, who has acted in ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Five Year Engagement’ and has writing credits on ‘Tooth Fairy’ and ‘The Man’. The pair will also produce, executive produce and make guest appearances on the show.
Guest will also direct the eight-part series, which will air on BBC America and BBC Two in the UK and Ireland simultaneously. Karen Murphy will also produce for Lucky Giant Productions for NBC Universal International TV.
O’Dowd shot to international fame playing Officer Rhodes in 2011’s ‘Bridesmaids’, starring Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm and Melissa McCarthy. He was nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star and won an IFTA for Best Supporting Actor this year.
It has just been announced the Roscommon man is working on a script for his first feature film, which he hopes will be picked up by Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions, which backs his Sky series ‘Moone Boy’.
The first series of ‘Moone Boy’ will air in September, with a second series already commissioned by the network. No production or premiere date has yet been set for ‘Family Tree’, but O’Dowd is currently residing in Dublin as production gets underway on the second series of ‘Moone Boy’ in Wicklow, which Ian Fitzgibbon is directing. Johnny Vegas is expected to make a return from series one, along with regular cast members Deirdre O’Kane, Peter McDonald and star David Rawle.
O’Dowd’s latest comedy ‘The Sapphires’, in which his character manages an Aboriginal girl group in Australia, will screen at the Toronto International film Festival next month, and will be released in cinemas in November.