HBO axed Stephen Merchant’s Hello Ladies and Christopher Guest’s Family Tree a few weeks ago, but it has dusted itself off and are ready to try again in the comedy department, this time with Jay Roach and Jerry Weintraub’s The Brink. The “epic dark comedy” with a brand-new series order will star Jack Black as a Foreign Service officer, Tim Robbins as the U.S. Secretary of State, and Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black, The Wire) as a Navy pilot. The plot swivels around a geopolitical crisis, and “these three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III.” Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, and Geoff Pierson are among the series’ costars.
It’s been a pretty fast development streak for The Brink — the pilot was ordered in September, scored Robbins and Black in November, and got the series pickup immediately after Weintraub and Roach screened the pilot for HBO this week. If you’re wondering what kind of humor we might be dealing with, here’s 76-year-old Weintraub, a producer on Behind the Candelabra and the Ocean’s movies, discussing the happy news: “They don’t know how long I’m going to live, that’s why they picked it up so quickly.”
The pilot script came from Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim; both are among The Brink’s producers. It’s Roach’s first TV series, although he’s worked with HBO as the director of Recount and Game Change. Everyone involved is really gushing about the whole thing — Weintraub says Roach is “famous for taking three years to make up his mind” yet almost immediately said “I’m in, the script is too good.” So maybe we’ll have to keep an eye out.