Jason Lee, who starred for four seasons in the critically acclaimed comedy My Name Is Earl, has been cast in the lead role of the TNT pilot Delta Blues. He will play Dwight Hendricks, a Memphis police officer who lives with his mother and moonlights as an Elvis impersonator.
The pilot for Delta Blues, which comes to TNT from George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Smokehouse Pictures and Warner Horizon Television, will be directed by Emmy nominee Clark Johnson (The Shield) from a script by Liz M. Garcia (Cold Case) and actor Joshua Harto (The Dark Knight). Clooney, Heslov and Garcia serve as executive producers. Henry Bronchtein (The Sopranos) and Smokehouse's Abby Wolf-Weiss are co-executive producers, and Harto is a producer. Johnson will also receive an executive-producer credit for the pilot.
"Jason Lee is the ideal choice to bring the compelling, off-kilter Dwight Hendricks to life," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "With extraordinary talent in front of and behind the camera, along with an outstanding script, Delta Blues is shaping up to be a hugely entertaining show and a great fit with our lineup of original dramas."
Lee's career includes two Golden Globe nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his starring role as Earl Hickey on the hit comedy series My Name Is Earl. Lee also served as a producer on the show, which followed a hapless crook who, determined to change his karma, sets out to right all the wrongs he inflicted on people.
Lee has completed production on Kevin Smith's latest feature, A Couple of Dicks. The film revolves around a pair of cops, played by Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, who track down a stolen baseball card, rescue a Mexican beauty and deal with gangsters and laundered drug money. The film is scheduled to be released Feb. 26, 2010, by Warner Bros.
Lee previously starred as Dave Seville, the songwriter/father-figure to singing chipmunks in the blockbuster Alvin and the Chipmunks, which grossed over $350 million worldwide. He has a cameo in the upcoming Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel, set to be released Dec. 23, 2009, by Fox 2000 Pictures.
This past summer, Lee filmed the independent thriller Columbus Circle. The story, written by Kevin Pollack, centers on a reclusive heiress in an upscale Manhattan apartment building who is brought face-to-face with her fears when a detective shows up to investigate a homicide that occurred in the apartment next door. Lee and Amy Smart play a couple who end up moving into the now empty apartment. Columbus Circle is directed by George Gallo (Bad Boys) and stars Selma Blair and Giovanni Ribisi.