Christopher Guest Extends his 'Family Tree'


I guess with a title like 'Family Tree' you're going to need a large ensemble cast.

Christopher Guest's upcoming single-camera mockumentary comedy 'Family Tree' greatly expanded its cast today, joining already-named stars Chris O'Dowd and Michael McKean.

Chris O'Dowd


O'Dowd, pictured above, will portray the main character Tom Chadwick. Having recently lost his job and his girlfriend, Chadwick is going through an identity crisis. When he inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great aunt that he never met, he starts investigating his family lineage and uncovers a McKeanwhole world of unusual stories and characters and a growing sense of who he and his real family are. McKean, a mainstay of Guest's work, plays Tom's father; the cast was already looking good at this point.


Then today, HBO rolled out the contracts to any funny person Guest needed.

Tom's mother, wife of McKean's character, will be played by Lisa Palfrey ('The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down A Mountain,' 'Casualty'), a little-known talent who has been working since the Palfrey1980s. Guest has always had an uncanny knack for casting--perhaps above his many other talents--and his track record has more than earned him the benefit of the doubt. Palfrey will likely mesh well with McKean (who recently guest-starred on 'Homeland' and 'Happy Endings') as, well, McKean meshes well with everyone.




Nina ContiRounding out Tom Chadwick's life will be his sister, played by Tom Bennettcomedian and ventriloquist Nina Conti (pictured left, with her most famous puppet characters), and Tom's best friend, played by Tom Bennett ('PhoneShop,' 'Breathe').

Conti has previously appeared in a Guest feature 'For Your Consideration,' joining McKean as a veteran of Guest's writing style as well as his affinity for improvisation on his sets.



Another recurring role went to Amy Seimetz, an actor known not for her comedy, but for her Seimetzappearances in several dramatic and experimental independent short films (many of which she also directed). Working with Guest can only help Seimetz learn and grow as a comic actor and as a filmmaker--his steady hand has earned him critical acclaim across three decades. Seimetz will play Ally, an aspiring writer who works in a bookstore. O'Dowd's Tom meets Ally under unusual circumstances during a visit to Los Angeles. 

After each of those main roles were filled, HBO wasn't finished yet: they Griessereven rounded out the recurring guest roles of Chadwick's American cousin Greg (played by Matt Griesser) and the stunningly beautiful Maria Blasucci as Greg's loving girlfriend.



'Family Tree' has received an eight-episode order on HBO (airing on BBC2 in the United Kingdom). Stick with TVRage for the latest as the project unfolds. Also, since everyone else is pictured (and she's so damned good looking), here's Maria Blasucci!





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