Hugh Laurie has landed the starring role in an upcoming HBO comedy, Avenue 5. Unlike the bulk of the roles Laurie has taken since House M.D. concluded, Avenue 5 will return Laurie to a straight-up comedy. Armando Iannucci, best known for creating another HBO comedy series, Veep, and also the showrunner for four seasons, will be taking the helm on the newest Laurie vehicle, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Unlike any projects either has worked on with any success before, Avenue 5 will be set primarily in outer space. Laurie will portray Ryan Clark, the charming and very “in control” American captain of the spaceship the show is named for. Iannucci and Laurie do have experience working together, as Laurie did appear in Veep for one season that Iannucci ran, and he is also in his film The Personal History of David Copperfield.
HBO gave the series the green light last year for a pilot episode and backup scripts. Iannucci held the lead role for Laurie, as he did for Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep, which helped sell the show to HBO, according to Deadline Hollywood. The series pilot is expected to begin filming in London sometime later this year. Based on the level of interest HBO has in that pilot will determine how, or if, production will move forward for the remainder of the series.
It is thought that the show is almost certain to be picked up. Iannucci has delivered for HBO in the past, and Laurie continues to deliver quality performances. Coming Soon cites Laurie’s recent successes as including Hulu’s Chance, AMC’s miniseries The Night Manager, and Hulu’s Catch-22 miniseries. Laurie continues to draw good ratings and receive good reviews of his work, so he and Iannucci are said to be going forward as if the show will become a series and have left their schedules open for that purpose.
Iannucci told the Daily Mail that he had been looking for something to do with Laurie because he enjoyed him so much on Veep and had been a fan of his work going way back.
“I knew that Hugh was a fan of the show, and I’m a huge fan of Hugh from way, way back with his comedy that he did in the UK. We just connected, really. Each heard that the other was interested, and we just kind of hooked up in London and chatted for hours about it.”
None of the involved parties have released any information on when the show will air if the series is picked up, but it is thought that the fall of 2019 would be the likely timeframe.