''Empire Falls'' turned into HBO miniseries -- The author of the criticially acclaimed novel preferred to his book adapted to the small screen

By EW Staff
Updated January 17, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Paul Newman helps author-screenwriter Richard Russo turn his 2001 novel, Empire Falls, into an HBO miniseries, starring Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, and Aidan Quinn, among others. Adapting the saga of three generations in blue-collar Maine was no easy task, and Russo says its controversial ending (no spoilers!) needed the freedom of cable. ”I had a terrible fear that if we went to make a mainstream movie, some studio executive would say, ‘You know, we decided we really can’t do [that ending].’ The great thing about HBO is that they hire good people and they leave them alone.”