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Misguided "Spaced" Adaptation Gets One Step Closer, Snags Aussie Lead

Aussie actor Josh Lawson has been cast as the male lead in FOX's comedy pilot Spaced.

The project, based on the beloved British series created by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, is about two strangers who pose as a professional couple in order to score the perfect flat. (For my feelings about what is bound to be a disastrous adaptation of Spaced, read my original reaction back in October about the news that FOX was developing this format, entitled "Must All British TV Series Be Adapted?: FOX Plans US Version of "Spaced".)

FOX has given Lawson a talent deal; this marks his first US role as he steps into the shoes formerly filled by Pegg, who went on to co-write and star in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with Spaced director Edgar Wright. Lawson is best known for his work on Australian series Sea Patrol, The Librarians, and the original Oz improv comedy format Thank God You're Here.

Credit FOX casting head Marcia Shulman with discovering Lawson. "He was really genuinely funny and understood comedy in a very classic way," Shulman told The Hollywood Reporter. "He is adorable but brilliantly and surprisingly funny. We all have been describing him as Matthew Perry meets Robin Williams."

Really, Robin Williams? While I don't want to fault Lawson, I can't help but get irritated every time I hear more about this US adaptation of Spaced, from studio Warner Bros. and McG's Wonderland Sound and Vision. And I can't help but think: What would Marsha say?

Pegg has himself lashed out at FOX, Warner Bros., Granada, and Wonderland about the US format of Spaced, saying that he, Wright, and Stevenson want nothing to do with the new version (though they will receive compensation as the creators of the original). In an official statement on website, Pegg wrote, "The whole affair seems to have inspired some spirited debate and some heartening displays of loyalty and love. All this for a show which is almost 10 years old, is all rather wonderful and a vindication of all the blood, sweat and tears (both of joy and pain) we shed in the show's creation. It was always our aim to create a comedy which spoke to its audience on such a personal level, it almost felt one on one. It would seem the fan reaction to the news that Fox has appropriated the format, confirms at least, that we succeeded."

At least one piece of good news for Spaced fans: the original UK series of Spaced will FINALLY be released in the US on DVD on July 23rd, 2008. Mark your calendars!


Anonymous said…
seriously - this is such a distaster-to-be.
"Matthew Perry meets Robin Williams?" And that's supposed to be a good thing?

All I can say is thank goodness the UK version is coming out soon on DVD.
Anonymous said…
Josh is such a wonderful guy though and this leaves me real torn in two. I don't want them meddling with something that is already perfect. I'm a huge fan of Spaced and have regular marathons of it (no one will be able to play Brian like Mark Heap).

But I don't want to see a genuinely talented and hilarious actor go down the plug hole of oblivion. I think we're quite fond of Josh (in Australia) and we want to see him go on to big things. Whoever said he was 'Matthew Perry meets Robin Williams' obviously is a dumb ass. He's very much his own person. And hilarious.
Anonymous said…
This couldn't be worse news. Not familiar with the actor at all but remaking Spaced is just asking for trouble. I agree with Pegg that they should have sooner ripped off the concept than remake Spaced and have it be called the same name. Idiots.
Giulie Speziani said…
I am so glad it's finally coming out on DVD.
Although I like both versions of The Office, (thank goodness the american version went off to do its own thing) I really can't see Spaced reproduced by anyone else. It was truly a unique show. (sigh)

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