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Patricia Clarkson is returning to HBO in the Gillian Flynn adaptation Sharp Objects

Clarkson in Elegy. (Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Actress Patricia Clarkson has done her share of television; heck, before breaking through as a film actress in the late 1990s, she even co-starred in a network legal drama, the short-lived, ahead-of-its-time Murder One. But the small-screen part of her career is almost entirely defined by one Emmy-winning guest star role: Sarah O’Connor, the Vicodin-addicted “cool aunt” she portrayed on seven episodes of HBO’s Six Feet Under.

Clarkson will be returning to the premium cable network for an eight-episode miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, Sharp Objects. The series has been in the works since before the release of the David Fincher-directed Flynn adaptation Gone Girl. HBO is said to have outbid Netflix for the project last year.


As Deadline reports, Clarkson will be playing the estranged, wealthy mother of the central character, Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), a journalist who returns to her tiny Missouri hometown to report on the murders of two preteen girls. If you’re wondering how an actress in her mid-50s is supposed to play the mother of an actress in her early 40s, the answer is that this is the entertainment industry, where the two stages of a woman’s adult life come down to “young enough for a pregnancy-scare plot line“ and “old enough to have inexplicably grown-ass children.“

Anyway, happy International Women’s Day. UnREAL co-creator Marti Noxon will serve as Sharp Objects’ executive producer, while Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Demolition) is set to direct all of the episodes.

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