is to cable TV as A Chorus Line
is to Broadway: a look at the performers in the smaller roles. Produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney (who also directs), the HBO comedy follows the trials and tribulations of three real-life actors, Krista Allen, Jennifer Hall, and Bryan Greenberg. The 10-part series isn't documentary, soap opera, or sitcom, but a combination of the three. It's up to the viewer to figure out where one ends and the other begins. Complicating matters is the character of Goddard Fulton (Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck
), an acting coach--and celebrated lothario--trying to help these young thespians step up their game.
In the pilot, Allen stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn to talk about her latest role: tequila spokesmodel. It may not be acting, but she has a son to support and it's an improvement on her softcore Emmanuelle past. In the same episode, Greenberg has a walk-on on ER and Hall has a stand-in on The George Lopez Show. In subsequent episodes, Allen guests on Jake in Progress and Hall does stand-in and background work on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Constantine. Greenberg hits the greatest heights when a recurring role on One Tree Hill leads to a starring role in Prime--opposite Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep. All go to humiliating auditions for parts they don't get.
As expected from a Clooney/Soderbergh production, stars abound, including Noah Wylie, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Hank Azaria, Keanu Reeves, and Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which featured Allen and Hall). Like improvised predecessor Curb Your Enthusiasm, most play themselves. Despite greater critical acclaim, Unscripted, like K Street before it, was not renewed for a second season. It deserved better. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Executive-produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney (Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12), UNSCRIPTED is an innovative half-hour comedy series that fuses reality and fiction to chronicle the lives of three struggling young actors as they navigate the rough waters of show business. Starring Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg and Jennifer Hall, essentially playing themselves, and co-starring screen veteran Frank Langella as Goddard Fulton, a noted actor who leads them in an acting workshop at Los Angeles' fabled Tamarind Theater, UNSCRIPTED offers a revealing look at the sometimes raucous, often disillusioning world of the fledgling actor.