Shining Vale series has Courteney Cox excited about acting again

The horror comedy series Shining Vale will be premiering on Starz in the U.S. and Canada this Sunday, March 6th, and the show will also air day and date on StarzPlay across Europe, Latin America, and Japan. A premiere screening of the pilot episode was recently held at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and Variety caught up with series star Courteney Cox at that event. During their conversation, Cox revealed that working on this show has renewed her excitement about her acting career. She said,

Such a dramatic role that also was comedic was a balance that I hadn’t played in quite this way. It’s a part that I’m just not used to being able to challenge, and it got me really excited about acting again.”

Created by Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan, Shining Vale will follow

a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Patricia “Pat” Phelps, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed – turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Pat is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband, and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real.

Horgan brought the idea to Astrof, telling him

‘I want to do something really scary. Do you think you can do horror and comedy together?’ And I said yes, because every time you go to a horror movie, after you scream, you laugh. I’ve been doing this long enough [that] I’m always looking for fresh ways to tell jokes.”

Cox told Variety,

I knew I wanted to be a part of it because of the creators. I just know how talented they both are, and then I read it. And I just love the way within 30 minutes, there’s so many things to play and what she’s going through: having a teenage daughter, trying to get her family back together, going through this writer’s block – she feels just really unhappy and purposeless. It resonated, the fact that she’s depressed. It’s really heavy issues, and they’re real. She’s not being believed when she sees a ghost for the first time and it’s just so frustrating… It’s an honest topic in every way. When you are the age that she is, it’s what people go through. I [also] love the comedy of it. I just love everything about this show: I love the sparring between me and Greg [Kinnear], and I love that it’s a half-hour – that’s just right up my alley. I have the attention span of hummingbird!”

Starz has ordered eight episodes of the series.

Shining Vale stars Cox as Patricia “Pat” Phelps, Greg Kinnear as Pat’s husband Terry, Merrin Dungey as Pat’s friend and book editor Kam; Gus Birney and Dylan Gage as Pat and Terry’s teenage kids Gaynor and Jake; Mira Sorvino as Rosemary, “who is either Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her”; Sherilyn Fenn as realtor Robyn Court; and Judith Light as Joan, “Pat’s Lithium-infused mother, who has long battled mental illness, and her daughter… (who she blames for her mental illness). Joan is vain and hyper-critical, taking any opportunity to recall her prized youth, or belittle Pat. Of all the horrors that Pat faces, becoming Joan is the most frightening – and most real.”

Shining Vale is being produced by Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Television, in association with Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, Astrof’s Other Shoe Productions, and Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s Merman. Astrof, Horgan, Mountford, Kaplan, and Dana Honor are all executive producers, while Cox is a producer. The pilot episode was directed and executive produced by Dearbhla Walsh.

Christina Davis of Starz said this will be “a smart, chilling, and funny series” that “blends comedy and horror brilliantly throughout”.

Source: Variety

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.