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October 1, 2014

HBO Revisits 'American Family'

by Scott Harris, posted Mar 23rd 2010 11:30AM
HBOMove over, Kate Gosselin and step aside, Kim Kardashian, because the original 'American Family' is about to return to television.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, HBO is preparing a film based on the landmark PBS series 'American Family,' which introduced reality television to the world in 1973 with an uncensored look at middle class family life that shocked the nation. Based on a script by David Seltzer ('The Omen'), the film, titled 'Cinema Verite,' is set to be directed by the 'American Splendor' team of Bob Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman.HBOMove over, Kate Gosselin and step aside, Kim Kardashian, because the original 'American Family' is about to return to television.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, HBO is preparing a film based on the landmark PBS series 'American Family,' which introduced reality television to the world in 1973 with an uncensored look at middle class family life that shocked the nation. Based on a script by David Seltzer ('The Omen'), the film, titled 'Cinema Verite,' is set to be directed by the 'American Splendor' team of Bob Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman.

'American Family,' which was filmed in 1971 by documentarians Alan and Susan Raymond, followed the lives of the Loud family of Santa Barbara, California, and threw back the curtain on the modern American family, which media and television had long portrayed as the ideal way of life. Instead, millions of viewers were stunned at the frank portrayal of marital problems -- including Pat Loud demanding a divorce from her husband Bill during an on-camera argument -- and the lifestyle of eldest son Lance Loud, who became a gay icon thanks to his status as the first openly gay character on television.

Overseen by 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' honcho Gavin Polone, production of 'Cinema Verite' follows the critical success of 'Grey Gardens,' which similarly reworked a famous '70s documentary into a dramatic triumph that earned 17 Emmy nominations for the network last year. How involved the Louds will be with 'Cinema Verite,' however, is unclear. Though the family reunited in 2003 for 'Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family,' they have mostly shunned publicity in the decades since 'American Family's' release.

Yes, that's right: Once upon a time, reality stars actually tried to avoid the spotlight. Which may provide 'Cinema Verite' with another selling point. Because if it isn't successful as a documentary, chances are they may be able to market it to skeptical modern audiences as science fiction.

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