Kathryn Hahn (Bad Words) has ended speculation by renewing her commitment to the Showtime TV project Happyish, in which she was set to star with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Originally conceived as an episodic vehicle for Hoffman, Happyish – in its initial form – was a TV pilot picked up for a 10 episode series, with Hahn starring as Hoffman’s wife. Steve Coogan was recently confirmed as replacement for Hoffman in the drama, and he will now be joined by Hahn, who is reprising her role.
Happyish centres on Thom Payne (Coogan), who finds himself with new bosses, half his age, who demand he ‘re-brand’ himself. Lee (Hahn) is his wife, and mother of their 6 year-old son, Julius. She is uncompromisingly honest, while being a devoted, but frustrated idealist – believing the best of everybody and everything, while constantly resenting the fact that neither of those things can be true all the time. The thrust of the action is based on the concept that our socially pressured pursuit of ‘happiness’ is actually the primary cause of unhappiness in many forms.
The show is created by Shalom Auslander, who was to executive produce the project alongside Hoffman. Since the actor passed away earlier this year, Ken Kwapis (He’s Just not That Into You) has stepped in as executive producer and direct the new pilot. Although 10 episodes of the show had previously been ordered, based on the original Hoffman/Hahn pilot, the project has now been returned to the pilot stage with its replacement star.
The original version had also featured actor Rhys Ifans in the role of Payne’s boss and mentor. However, this role will now be played by West Wing star Bradley Whitford. It is currently unclear as to which, if any, of the remaining roles will be re-cast, but the new pilot for Happyish will go into production in New York in December, so further casting announcements and confirmations should happen very soon.