The last time Kate Winslet worked on an HBO mini-series was over a decade ago, but it was an overwhelming success. Her lead performance in Todd Hayne‘s “Mildred Pierce” was a star turn on every account and garnered Winslet several Best Actress wins at the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Satellite Awards, and the SAGs. Now, Winslet is back to headline another HBO mini-series, although this one’s film-noir roots lack the same literary heritage as Michael Curtiz‘s 1945 masterpiece.
“Mare of Easttown” is instead a slice of small-town noir straight out of Appalachia. It’s territory that series writer and creator Brad Ingelsby is familiar with too. 2013’s “Out of the Furnace” and 2018’s “American Woman” are two films that, like “Easttown,” deal with crime and murder in the Pennsylvania backwoods, although this series is the first thing Ingelsby has written for TV.
Winslet stars as Mare Sheehan, a detective in a small Pennsylvania town who must keep her life from unraveling as she attempts to solve the local murder of a young girl.
Alongside Winslet, “Easttown” also stars Julianne Nicholson (HBO’s ‘The Outsider‘ and ‘Boardwalk Empire‘), Jean Smart (HBO’s ‘Watchmen‘), Angourie Rice (‘Spider-Man: Far From Home‘), and Evan Peters (‘American Horror Story‘). Guy Pearce, who co-starred with Winslet in “Mildred Pierce,” also has a supporting role. David Denman (‘Greenland‘) and Cailee Spaeny (‘The Craft: Legacy‘) also have featured parts.
Craig Zobel directs all seven episodes of the mini-series. Zobel has been behind the camera for HBO shows before, directing a handful of episodes for “The Leftovers” and “Westworld.” Gavin O’Connor, who worked with Ingelsby on last year’s “The Way Back,” was initially slated to direct “Easttown” before Zobel took over.
Even though the show’s production first got underway in Fall 2019, “Easttown” had to shut down production last March due to the still ongoing COVID pandemic. The show had nearly wrapped at that point and had to wait until last September to resume and finish shooting.
Will Winslet’s return to HBO primetime bring in more accolades for the actress? Given that both the actress and television network have an esteemed pedigree, “Easttown” will undoubtedly be a mini-series worth watching. Check it out when the series premieres on April 18.