A Moment of Jen
THE NEXT BEST THING — In Stores July 3rd!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
posted by Jen at 1/08/2003 08:42:00 AM


After months of waiting, weeks of hinting, and days of pacing around I can finally tell you that GOOD IN BED is coming to HBO, and I am absolutely, completely thrilled. The woman in charge is Jenny Bicks, Emmy Award-winning executive producer of SEX AND THE CITY -- and yes, she is very wee and cute and way more fashionable than I am (or, really, than anyone else I know), but she is also extremely funny, so we don't hold that against her. (Also, yes, I am now referring to myself in the first-person plural. I don't expect it will last).

Here's the article from today's Variety that gives all the specifics. Q and A from me is below.

'Sex' Scribe to Make 'Bed' for HBO

By Josef Adalian

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - HBO has pacted with Emmy-winning "Sex and the City" scribe Jenny Bicks to develop a small-screen version of "Good in Bed," the best-selling Jennifer Weiner novel about female and family relationships.

The sitcom will revolve around 28-year-old Cannie Shapiro, a size 16 single gal living in Philly and dealing with her dysfunctional family, an annoying ex-boyfriend, a late-in-life lesbian mom and the struggles associated with being a big woman in a size 2 world. Her character will be a wedding photographer, and Bicks hopes to use that angle as the jumping-off point for many stories.

Bicks said she was attracted to the project, still in the early stages of development at HBO, because of the character of Cannie.

"She's real and funny and smart -- a Lane Bryant Mary Tyler Moore (news) who's trying hard to make it," she said. "It's an amazing opportunity to put a real, fat woman on TV. We're not talking about someone's who 10 pounds overweight."

Cannie will not be a loner but rather someone "who's smart and funny, has lots of friends -- and she has sex, sometimes good sex. But it's not a show about sexcapades."

Indeed, in many ways the TV version of "Good in Bed" -- which may get a new title -- will be the opposite of "Sex," which wraps its six-season run next year.

"This is a girl who probably watched 'Sex and the City' and loved it, but she lives in a world of Lane Bryant clothes and lots of dysfunctional family s---," Bicks said.

The novel was semiautobiographical for Weiner; Bicks said she's "somewhere between Cannie and ('Sex's') Carrie, both in dress size and personality."

"One of the most important things to me was that, if Cannie's journey was going to be portrayed on the big or small screen, then the character would have to be genuinely 'life sized,"' Weiner said. "I didn't want her played by Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit, or by Renee Zellweger with a few extra pounds."

Bicks most recently created the short-lived NBC relationships comedy "Leap of Faith."

Now for everything you wanted to know....

Q: Is this really, positively going to happen?

A: Well, there are no guarantees in life except death, taxes, and your favorite Stairmaster being occupied by a guy wearing too much cologne. But this is looking pretty good. We know for sure that there will be a pilot, which Jenny is writing now. After that, HBO has to either decide to go ahead with the show as a series, or not. But so far, everyone there seems very excited.

Q: So what's the timeline?

A: HBO's signed a yearlong option, which means they've got twelve months to get the ball rolling.

Q:Will the show be set or shot in Philadelphia?

A: It's definitely going to be set here, and will hopefully be at least partially filmed right here in Philly, although that's a decision that HBO will be making down the road. I can tell you that Jenny came to Philadelphia last month to hang out with me, see the sights and eat a cheesesteak, and seemed to really dig it -- so we've got that going for us.

Q: How much input/control will you have over how the show turns out? Do you know if they're planning any major changes from the book?

A: Short answer -- this is now Jenny Bicks' baby, and she and HBO will be able to do with it as they wish. Such is the nature of the relationship between novelists and Hollywood -- you sell them your stuff, and they retain the rights to insert car crashes and love interests, and change your characters to the point that Julia Roberts could play all of them, including the men. Longer answer -- I'm going to be a consultant on the show, which means that I'll be able to speak up and say things like "Cannie would never eat that/wear that/even know where to buy that."

I can tell you that it's unlikely that Cannie on TV will have exactly the same job that she has in the book because I think HBO's already got a show about a conflicted female journalist with a challenging love life. Jenny's idea -- and I think it's brilliant -- is to give Cannie the job she had at her first, smaller newspaper, covering weddings. Which means we'd get to see a wedding every week, and the show's themes and situations could come from that wedding. But again, this is her call, not mine, so we'll wait and see.

The bottom line is that I really have faith that HBO will do the right thing in terms of portraying Cannie as she's portrayed in the book -- extra pounds, smart-ass attitude and all. That's the beauty of HBO -- because they're not making a feature film, they don't have to go with an established brand-name star ("Julia Roberts IS.....Good in Bed!") And because it's not a network, beholden to advertisers, they don't have to go with a typically pretty girl with, perhaps, five extra pounds around her hips. Because it's HBO, and because the network has made its reputation with cutting-edge, original programming that doesn't condescend to its viewers, they can go out and find an unknown actress who's perfect -- and perfectly sized -- to play the part.

Q: And that actress is me! I am Cannie! Can I send you my resume/headshot/videotape?

A: Please don't. At this point, casting is still a ways away, and when it comes time, there will be a casting person in charge of making those decisions. While I expect I may have some input, it won't be my call (which is fine, because it's not my area of expertise). As soon as I have any more info on who that person is and how to get in touch with her, I'll post it -- in fact, there will probably be a permanent link on the jenniferweiner.com space...but please hold off on the head shots for now.

Q: How's Wendell taking all of this?

A: Oy. Major attitude from the rat dog. At any moment I expect him to pull a Val Kilmer and demand a bigger trailer. Seriously, though, when I met with the HBO people last September, the one and only thing I asked for was that they give Wendell a chance to appear on TV. They seemed amenable. However, it's possible they were just humoring me. We shall see.

So that's all the news from around here, unless I think of more...but right now, I'm too excited to think much at all.
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