A Bookworm’s Guide to Casting ‘The Corrections’


The HBO adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s National Book Award-winning novel The Corrections has been surrounded by a whirlwind of casting rumors and confirmations since the series was greenlit back in November. The most recent rumbling of the rumor mill is that Maggie Gyllenhaal is in talks to play Denise Lambert, a professional chef who has an affair with both the owner of the restaurant where she works and his wife. The cast thus far includes Hollywood heavyweights Dianne Wiest, Ewan McGregor, and Chris Cooper; actors who we adore, but don’t necessarily see as casting home runs for Franzen’s characters. If we had license to keep Gyllenhaal and build our dream cast around her, these would be our picks — let us know your corrections in the comments.

Chip Lambert

Currently cast: Ewan McGregor Our pick: Justin Kirk

We’re happy to have Ewan McGregor’s name attached to just about anything but for some reason we don’t see him as floundering, self-defeating Chip Lambert. Justin Kirk from Weeds has the “always getting in his own way” routine down pat and can play an anti-hero with the right balance of humor and gravitas.

Alfred Lambert

Currently cast: Chris Cooper Our pick: Gene Hackman

Chris Cooper has played several hard-nosed bullies in the past, but he feels a shade too young to make a believable Alfred Lambert. We like Gene Hackman for this part — he has the acting chops to successfully pull off playing someone with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Also, gruff enough to counteract Enid’s fretting and nagging.

Enid Lambert

Currently cast: Dianne Wiest Our pick: Anita Gillette

The Lambert family matriarch has suffered her husband’s emotional abuse for decades and now toward the end of her life spends her time wringing her hands over her adult children. Enid Lambert’s melancholia is buried under an artificially bright exterior, a combination that we think is more suited to someone like Anita Gillette — also known as Liz Lemon’s mother on 30 Rock.


Rumored casting: Rhys Ifans Our pick: Rhys Ifans

Casting Rhys Ifans as Gitanas, the Lithuanian diplomat who hires Chip to help him defraud investors through the Lithuanian national website, is genius. No changes here, let’s hope this rumor pans out.

Gary Lambert

Rumored casting: No one yet Our pick: Jason Bateman

Gary Lambert, the eldest Lambert offspring, is convinced his wife is conspiring against him with the help of their children to prove that he suffering from depression. We can envision Jason Bateman carrying the mounting paranoia off well, and we would kill to see him in the scene where his troubles come to a head with his drunken meltdown in the family’s front yard.

Caroline Lambert

Rumored casting: No one yet Our pick: Leslie Mann

Caroline Lambert is one of the more delicious characters in The Corrections, plotting against her husband in cahoots with their three sons on a quest to prove to him that he is depressed and unstable. Leslie Mann has the comedic chops to pull this off without over-saturating the character with malice.

Brian Callahan

Rumored casting: No one yet Our pick: Aaron Eckhart

One third of the Denise love triangle, newly monied Brian Callahan wants to enjoy his millions by having the best of everything available. Determined to foster a social scene in Philadelphia, Brian buys a restaurant and hires Denise on as executive chef. Eckhart would capture Brian’s unflappability and questionable moral compass.

Robin Callahan

Rumored casting: No one yet Our pick: Catherine Keener

Much to her husband’s chagrin, Robin Callahan rejects their newfound wealth and refuses to play the part of the kept wife. At first put off by Denise Lambert, who she sees as her replacement, Robin soon becomes romantically entangled with her. An embittered Catherine Keener and a juicy affair? Yes, please.