HBO grabs Kate Winslet

I am of the general opinion that classic movies should not be remade. Audiences who see remade classics tend to agree. But occasionally I hear of a project that opens my mind a bit. Enter Kate Winslet.

We told you a few months ago that the lovely Kate had signed on for Todd Haynes’ remake of Oscar-winning film Mildred Pierce.

Now we can tell you that HBO has confirmed that it will produce the five-hour miniseries. Did I mention that it stars Kate Winslet?

In case you don’t have the same codependent relationship with film noir that I do, here’s the story: Mildred Pierce Beragon (originally played by Joan Crawford) is a depression-era housewife who is trying to maintain her family’s comfortable lifestyle in the face of decreasing finances.

She leaves her unemployed husband and gets a job as a waitress – which serves as a springboard to success as the owner of five restaurants. But, in true film noir fashion, success is not the focus of this movie. Mildred has a spoiled, ungrateful daughter Veda who causes all sorts of pain and upheaval — and, ultimately, murrr-derrr.

The original movie was based on James M. Cain’s novel Mildred Pierce and, given the restrictions of film, cut out a good deal of the book’s plot. So, as marvelous as the 1945 version was, HBO’s Mildred Pierce has the potential to be more faithful to the text. Shooting begins in April and casting for the other parts is in progress. Word is that young Hollywood actresses will be lining up to play Veda. Who wouldn’t want the chance to costar with the great Kate?

Television is not new to Winslet — she actually got her start on British TV. But accepting a miniseries role so soon after her Oscar win for The Reader seems to indicate that the line between big and small screen is growing faint. And that is good news for all of us who love quality production, wherever it may appear.

Are you a Mildred Pierce fan? Do you think the miniseries is a step down for Kate Winslet or are you just happy to see her whenever you can? Who would you pick for the role of Mildred’s daughter Veda?

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