April 14, 2014 10:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Hell on Wheels' Alum to Topline ABC's 'Astronaut Wives Club'
Following an extensive casting search, ABC has cast the lead for its drama series Astronaut Wives Club.
Hell on Wheels alum Dominique McElligott will topline the drama from Gossip Girl's Stephanie Savage, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The 1960s-set drama tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. The series marks the first pilot Savage has written since she co-created The CW's long-running Gossip Girl with her Fake Empire cohort Josh Schwartz. The project is based on Lily Koppel's best-selling novel published last summer. Janice Williams brought the project to Groundswell. Nick Cassavetes will direct the first entry in the 10-episode drama, which has been moved from summer to midseason.
McElligott will star as Louise Shepard, a real-life "Sabrina" whose father was the head of maintenance at the Duponts’ Longwood Gardens estate. She is intensely private and struggles to maintain her "perfect" image and her complicated marriage once her husband, Alan (Dexter's Desmond Harrington) becomes the first American in space. Louise and Alan had one of the few marriages that survived the space program, staying together for 53 years.
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McElligott joins a cast that also includes JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Azure Parsons, Zoe Boyle and Odette Annable. McElligott's credits include The Philanthropist, Raw, Being Human, On Home Ground and features Not Fade Away, Blackthorn and Leap Year. She's repped by CAA.