Joseph Sargent ("Something the Lord Made" and "Miss Evers' Boys") directs the film from the first screenplay by Margaret Nagle (actress of "My So-Called Life"), set to debut on the cable network in April.
"Warm Springs" is the story of a man whose life changes when he contracts polio at the time he is thriving in his political career. He finds help and himself again when he is brought to the mineral waters of a broken-down health spa in Georgia. The man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Branagh — who has appeared on the London stage in David Mamet's Edmond and directed the Broadway transfer of The Play What I Wrote — will star as the former revered president. The Renaissance Theatre Company founder who has brought many Shakespeare works to film has also appeared on stage in Another Country, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Look Back in Anger.
Nixon — who is known to HBO audiences for her turn in "Sex and the City" — will portray FDR's wife Eleanor. The actress who began her career on the stage has appeared in The Philadelphia Story, The Real Thing, Hurlybury, The Heidi Chronicles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Indiscretions, Angels in America and The Women.
Alexander — who currently appears Off-Broadway in What of the Night — will take on the role of Roosevelt matriarch Sara Delano. A Tony Award winner, she has also appeared in The Great White Hope, Find Your Way Home, First Monday in October, The Visit, The Sisters Rosensweig and Honour. The actress who has been seen in the films "All the President’s Men" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" has previously played Eleanor Roosevelt in the television movies "Eleanor and Franklin" and "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years". Bates ('night, Mother, "Misery") will appear as physical therapist Helena Mahoney, Tim Blake Nelson (The Beard of Avon, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?") plays spa proprietor Tom Loyless and David Paymer (Grease, "Mr. Saturday Night") plays political consigliere Louis Howe.
"Warm Springs" is executive produced by Mark Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan") and Celia Costas (HBO's "Angels in America") and produced by Chrisann Verges. HBO Films executive vice president Keri Putnam and director of development Elaine Chin are the executives in charge of production.
HBO Films presentations have included the screen versions of Ruben Santiago Hudson's Lackawanna Blues (directed by George C. Wolfe), the Tectonic Theatre's The Laramie Project and the Emmy Award-winning version of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Recent films have also included such stage stars as Nine's Antonio Banderas ("And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself"), Private Lives' Alan Rickman and Topdog/ Underdog's Mos Def ("Something the Lord Made") and Avenue Q's Jordan Gelber with Dracula's Stephen McKinley Henderson ("Everyday People").
Up next, stars Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Aidan Quinn and Joanne Woodward perform in the cast of the two-part miniseries "Empire Falls."
For more information, visit HBO Films online at www.hbo.com/films.