Kevin Kline attached to HBO drama

Actor to play surgeon sent to prison for 15 years

Kevin Kline is ready to kill for HBO.

Thesp is set to topline a drama project for the pay cabler in which he plays a cardiac surgeon sent to prison for killing his mistress. Project, in the early stage of development, will be written by David Auburn (“Proof”) and exec produced by Auburn, Kline, Gavin Polone and Judy Hofflund. Auburn sold the idea to HBO, and Kline then signed on.

Story begins when Kline’s character is released after 15 years behind bars and is forced to put his life back together and reconnect with past relationships.

Kline, who rarely ventures into television and has never been in a series, was nominated for an Emmy last year for his turn as Cyrano de Bergerac in the PBS’ “Great Performances.” He won a supporting actor Oscar for the 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda.”

HBO is set to unveil several high-profile series, including David Simon’s “Treme” (about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans) next month and Martin Scorsese’s Prohibition-era drama “Boardwalk Empire” in the fall. It also gave a series order earlier this month to fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” ( Daily Variety , March 3).

On the pilot front, HBO is about to begin on David Milch’s “Luck,” revolving around eccentric characters on the horse racing circuit. Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina star.