The project is titled “The Righteous Gemstones.” It is the story of the world famous Gemstone televangelist family, which has a long tradition of deviance, greed, and charitable work, all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John Goodman will star as Eli Gemstone, the patriarch of the Gemstone family. The character is described as unbending and a force in the Ministry game. He’s known the world over for his aggressive salvation techniques, his worldwide ministries, and his award winning weekly television program. His light is fading, but he takes no guff. He is obeyed, unquestioned.
In addition to writing, directing, and executive producing, McBride will also star as Jesse Gemstone, the eldest son and “heir to the throne.” He walks in his father’s shadow while simultaneously blazing his own path. Like Eli, Jesse demands loyalty from those in his circle, and surrounds himself by those that will follow him. Jesse fancies himself a maverick in the ministry game, taking what Eli has built and expanding it for a more modern audience.
Jody Hill and David Gordon Green will also executive produce alongside McBride.
The pilot order keeps McBride, Hill, and Green in the HBO fold. The trio previously collaborated on the HBO comedy series “Vice Principals,” which also starred McBride and aired for two seasons. They also worked together on “Eastbound & Down,” in which McBride played a down and out pro baseball player. That show aired for four seasons, concluding in 2013.
McBride is well known for his comedic roles not only in television but also film, having appeared in hits like “Pineapple Express,” “This Is the End,” and “Tropic Thunder.” He also recently starred in “Alien Covenant” and is writing the screenplay for a new “Halloween” film. He is repped by CAA.
Goodman recently returned to the role of Dan Conner in ABC’s hit revival of “Roseanne.” Following a racist tweet by series creator Roseanne Barr that led to ABC cancelling the show, the network brought it back sans Barr under the new name “The Conners.” On the film side, Goodman is known for his roles in projects like “Barton Fink,” “10 Cloverfield Lane,” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” He also appeared opposite Al Pacino in the HBO Jack Kevorkian biopic “You Don’t Know Jack.” He is repped by Gersh.
HBO’s other recent pilot orders include Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen” adaptation and a “Game of Thrones” prequel from writer Jane Goldman.