williamhmacy 290 Casting call: William H. Macy is 'Shameless,' Krysten Ritter feels 'Gravity's' pullA long-in-development American version of the British series “Shameless” is one step closer to reality with the casting of William H. Macy in the lead role.

Showtime has given a pilot order to the project, which is based on Paul Abbott’s hit U.K. series about a large working-class family headed by an alcoholic father. John Wells (“ER,” “The West Wing”) will executive produce the pilot, which has been a pet project of his for several years.

“I’m delighted to be working with Showtime to adapt Paul Abbott’s controversial and thoroughly hilarious show for American audiences,” Wells says. “‘Shameless’ is wildly politically incorrect and painfully honest. With one of my favorite actors, Bill Macy, agreeing to join us, I can’t wait to get started.”

Macy (“Fargo,” “ER,” “The Cooler”) will play the patriarch of a Chicago family who’s not exactly father-of-the-year material. He’s a blackout drunk whose wife has bailed, often leaving responsibility for the family to the eldest of his six children, 18-year-old Fiona.

The pilot, which Abbott will exec produce with Wells, is scheduled to film in December.

Elsewhere on cable, Starz has filled out the cast of its upcoming series “Gravity” with the likes of Krysten Ritter, Ving Rhames, Rachel Hunter and Ivan Sergei.

The show from writer-producer-actor Eric Schaeffer (“If Lucy Fell,” “Starved”) is about a support group for people who have survived suicide attempts. Ritter (“Breaking Bad,” “27 Dresses”) will play a clinically depressed young woman with daddy issues. Sergei (“Crossing Jordan,” “Charmed”) will play a doctor who went into a tailspin after his wife’s death — and became an Internet celebrity when his suicide attempt went wrong.

Rhames (“Mission: Impossible III”) will play the group’s leader, a former athlete who’s now in a wheelchair, and Hunter will play a model-turned-life coach who likes younger guys. Robyn Cohen, Seth Numrich and James Martinez will also be regulars.

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Posted by:Rick Porter