Amagansett actress Blythe Danner is looking at a busy year in 2018, with two confirmed theatrical releases, a TV movie and, perhaps most notably, her hotly anticipated Showtime limited series Patrick Melrose starring The Imitation Game Academy Award-winner Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange).
Danner plays Patrick Melrose’s aunt Nancy in the five-part series based on British author Edward St. Aubyn‘s semi-autobiographical series of five novels—Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk and At Last—republished together as The Patrick Melrose Novels in 2012. Watch the trailer below (WARNING: It contains strong language).
Currently without a solid release date, the show follows its titular character (Cumberbatch) as he survives a traumatic childhood, years of substance abuse, and eventually the process of recovery. Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (Twin Peaks, The Hateful Eight) plays Melrose’s mother, Eleanor, who sits by and does nothing as her son suffers terrible abuse at the hands of his father David Melrose, played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix). Each of the five episodes represents one book in the series.
The New Yorker describes Danner’s character Nancy, who is Eleanor’s sister, as “spoiled and bitter, who sponges off her rich friends and spends her days raging against the injustice of her merely modest private income.” A Park Avenue aristocrat with somewhat reduced means, compared to her past, Nancy collects $15,000 a month from an account set up by her mother when she was just 12 years old. And like her nephew, Nancy and her sister were raised by an alcoholic father.
From her brief appearance in the show’s trailer, Danner, who appears in two episodes, will surely be highlight in what should be an overall entertaining ride.
In addition to Patrick Melrose, Danner is starring in three films due for release this year. In What They Had, opening March 16, she stars as an Alzheimer’s-stricken woman whose daughter (Hillary Swank) comes to visit after she walks out into a blizzard. Danner is also starring as a wealthy alcoholic who ends up staying at her son’s (played by Matthew Lillard) sober living facility in the TV movie Halfway There.
Danner’s final confirmed film of 2018, Hearts Beat Loud, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26. The film tells the story of a widower father (Nick Offerman) and daughter (Kiersey Clemons) who start a band during the summer before she goes away to medical school. Danner plays the shoplifting grandmother, Marianne Fisher, who must be put in a home.