Turner Network Television has what looks like a sure-fire Emmy Award winner in its latest made-for-cable movie The Wool Cap, a remake of the 1962 theatrical Gigot.
Whereas Jackie Gleason starred as an overweight mute who befriended the lonely daughter of a Parisian prostitute in the movie, in the telepic William H. Macy (Seabiscuit) is Charles Gigot, a silent building superintendent with a troubled past and a pet monkey. Macy, who received a best actor Emmy for TNT’s highly decorated Door to Door (2002), this time leads an all-star cast that includes Don Rickles, Catherine O’Hara and Ned Beatty, in the fifth TNT Original to premiere under the Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation banner.
Gigot is tormented by and later befriends young Louella (Keke Palmer), who is left on his couch by her drug-addicted mother. When Lou’s mother never returns for her, Gigot tries to find a relative to dump the troublesome girl on. When that fails, they travel to Philadelphia in an attempt find her mother.
On the trip, Gigot and Lou start to become friends, and after their return, their bond really starts to grow. Gigot applies to become a foster parent in hopes of getting legal guardianship over Lou, but his checkered past prevents him from approval.
The past that torments Gigot includes a tour of duty in Vietnam; problems with drugs and alcohol; the auto accident that stole his voice; the death of his sister (whose cap he wears constantly); and a 28-year estrangement from his father (Beatty). As he helps Lou, he begins to conquer his problems, including bagging the booze. When Lou is taken away by child welfare services and sent to various foster homes before ending up in a juvenile detention center, Gigot attempts to find a good home for her — a search that eventually leads to him contacting his father.
Along with the stunning performances by Macy and Palmer, the rest of the cast provides strong supporting characters. Rickles adds some much needed humor to the heartrending story as a cranky old man living in Gigot’s building. O’Hara shows an emotional depth that is sometimes lost in her comedy roles as Gigot’s “girlfriend.”
The Wool Cap premieres Sunday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. (ET).