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Back in the days when Julia Roberts was being nominated for Academy Awards for films like Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman — and winning one for Erin Brockovich — there was a clear line in the sand between actors who worked in film and those who worked on television. Generally speaking, movie stars appearing on TV were considered to be slumming or in the twilight of their careers.
Flash forward, and things have changed considerably for TV, which is going through a new Golden Age with actors and actresses recognizing that many of the best roles are on the small screen. New to that list is Julia, who will be starring in Today Will Be Different, an eight-episode limited series to be aired on HBO.
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Based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple (who also happens to be writing the series), the central figure is Eleanor Flood, who at the outset recognizes that her life is a mess, but decides that “today will be different.” To make that happen, she decides to take control of things, but between her son faking illness to be home from school and her husband going on a vacation she knows nothing about, as well as the threat of a family secret being revealed, Eleanor’s plans instantly go awry.
Says the book’s publisher, Hachette Books, “Today Will Be Different is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.”
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In an interview with NPR, Maria explains, “I wanted to explore an intersection that I think we find ourselves in in middle-age marriage…. One of the things [Eleanor] realizes is that her marriage is on auto-pilot and if it keeps going that way, they’re just gonna be two strangers in a business of raising a child together. Where their life just becomes scheduling and emailing each other… And where he would be going to jazz by himself and she would just be off in her own head. And so this is a book to me about the decision to dig in and to try to, as Eleanor says, not mistake love for youth. You know, that when you’re young you’re just crazy about each other and now you have to work a little harder at it.”
Julia will not only star in the series, but will serve as one of the producers. Her most recent films include Mother’s Day and Money Monster. She’ll next be seen in this November’s family drama Wonder, based on the R.J. Palacio novel of the same name.
Today Will Be Different seems to be following in the footsteps of the network’s recent limited series Big Little Lies, which stars Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgard, and Laura Dern.
No word from HBO when Today Will Be Different will go into production or air.