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Blethyn blesses CBS pilot

Role is thesp's first American series

Two-time Oscar-nominee Brenda Blethyn has joined the cast of “The Seven Roses,” the CBS laffer pilot from former “Frasier” exec producers Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd.

Blethyn (“Little Voice”) will play Pamela, an ex-stage actress who owns and operates the Seven Roses Inn. Character is the recently widowed matriarch of an eccentric family.

Addition reps Blethyn’s first American series role; thesp has appeared in a number of Brit skeins, including “Rumpole” and “Yes Minister.”

“She’s always been our first choice,” Lloyd said. “When we wrote this on spec, we started conjuring up her image and voice. She’s someone who immediately came to mind. We talked to her about the idea, and she loved it.”

Keenan said Blethyn’s ability to play a larger-than-life character made her right for part.

“We wanted to write about a very theatrical family, and started tossing around names of actors,” he said. “ICM mentioned a couple of names (including Blethyn), who absolutely clicked from the get-go.”

Lloyd said that while Blethyn will be playing a mom, she won’t be a Carol Brady type.

“With TV characters of that age — older women — you get a type there: They tend to be doddy-older,” Lloyd said. “We wanted someone with a lot of energy, who can play off dating stories and sexuality. The part calls for someone very grand but also very real. She’s the mom, the touchstone in this eccentric family. There are not too many people who can give you that dimension.”

Added Keenan: “We looked at everything she’d ever done, which made us excited about the choice. There are very few people out there as skilled in drama as comedy.”

In addition to her Oscar nom for 1998’s “Little Voice,” Blethyn snagged an Oscar nom, a Golden Globe, the 1996 Cannes best actress award and a BAFTA for her performance in 1996’s “Secrets and Lies.” Her numerous other feature credits include “The Witches” and “A River Runs Through It.”

Blethyn will also be seen in the upcoming ABC mini “Anne Frank.” She also stars opposite Christina Ricci in the upcoming feature “Pumpkin.”

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