James M. Cain’s classic novel, Mildred Pierce, is now an HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet. Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) directs this brand new adaptation, which also features Guy Pearce, Evan Rachel Wood, Mare Winningham, and Melissa Leo.
The first two episodes of the five-part series aired on March 27th. The third episode will air on April 3rd, and the fourth and fifth episodes will air on April 10th. Check your local listings for exact airtimes.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Cain’s book has been adapted: film buffs and noir fans will remember Joan Crawford’s turn as Mildred in the 1945 film, directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Although the 1945 film is a joy to watch, it’s also a fairly loose adaptation of the source material. Haynes, who co-wrote the teleplay with Jon Raymond, turns the focus back to Cain’s book and finds rich soil. Mildred is a unique heroine, a tough, Depression-era single mother struggling to keep her family together, no matter how hard the world (and her family) pushes back.
In this video, Todd Haynes sits down with Robert Polito to discuss how the novel inspired him and how he views the character of Mildred Pierce.