CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest telefilm news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE LAST KING (A.K.A. UNTITLED CHARLES II PROJECT) (A&E) - More details have emerged about the cable network's four-hour mini-series on the life of King Charles II, his squabbling family and his many mistresses. Diana Rigg ("Victoria and Albert") is set to join Rufus Sewell ("Helen of Troy") and Rupert Graves ("The Forsythe Saga") in the cast. Adrian Hodges ("The Lost World") wrote the script for the project which will be directed by Joe Wright ("Nature Boy") and produced by Kate Harwood ("The Lost World"). Delia Fine and Laura Mackie are the executive produces. Production on the project (which is being financed by A&E and the BBC) began on Monday.
LOVE IN VAIN (HBO, New!) - Sean "P. Diddy" Combs will star in the pay channel's biopic of blues singer Robert Johnson. Despite only recording 29 songs and dying at the age of 27, Johnson is viewed as one of the most influential of the Delta blues artists. Tim Blake Nelson ("The Grey Zone," "O") will direct the telefilm from a script by Alan Greenberg. Shooting is expected to begin in September. Jeff Abelson is executive producing.
PRAYERS (Showtime, New!) - The pay channel is set to adopt Leroy Aarons' novel "Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son" as a telefilm. David Permut ("Face/Off"), Daniel Sladek ("Tale of the Mummy") and Chris Taaffe ("Thank Heaven") will executive produce the project which is being developed under the title "Prayers." The book follows the true story of Mary Griffith, a small-town, religious housewife who became a crusader for gay and lesbian teens after her 20-year-old son Bobby committed suicide in 1983. Katie Ford ("Miss Congeniality") on set to adapt the novel. Susan Sarandon had previously been developing the project at NBC however opted out for unspecified reasons. The telefilm will feature the channel's "Original Pictures for All Ages" banner.
SALEM'S LOT (TNT) - Andre Braugher ("Hack") and James Cromwell ("Citizen Baines") have signed onto the cable network's remake of the Stephen King's book. The duo join Rob Lowe, Rutger Hauer and Samantha Mathis in the project, which is currently shooting in Melbourne, Australia. Lowe plays Ben Mears, a journalist who returns to his New England hometown to find that it has become infested with vampires. He's aided by his former teacher (Braugher) and the local priest (Cromwell). Hauer is cast as the town's head vampire, while Mathis plays a waitress who falls for Lowe's character.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters