9:55am PT by Kate Stanhope
Bradley Whitford, Courtney B. Vance Board TNT Drama Pilot 'Civil'
Bradley Whitford and Courtney B. Vance are headed to TNT.
The two actors have signed on for the Turner network's modern-day civil war drama pilot Civil, it was announced Wednesday.
Toby Jones has also joined the project, with Brian d'Arcy James (Spotlight) attached as a guest star.
Civil takes place in the wake of a hotly contested Presidential election, as America finds itself plunging uncontrollably into a modern-day Civil War. The series weaves together the personal stories of citizens from all walks of life, whose actions — amplified in an age of instant media — add fuel to the conflict and affect the fate of the entire country.
Whitford has been cast as Grant Taylor, the Democratic candidate for President. Taylor is a career politician who spent the past eight years trying to appear subservient in his role as Vice President, cutting against his reflex to approach every relationship from a position of domineering aggression. He comes from a background of great privilege, but he works hard to mask this behind a facade of relatability and good humor.
Vance will play New York City Police Commissioner John Thorne, an old-school, law-and-order cop who's unabashedly tough, with one newspaper dubbing him “Iron John." As the nation's unrest spreads to New York City, Thorne reacts with increasingly extreme measures, gradually assuming near-dictatorial power over the city he’s sworn to serve and protect.
Jones will take the role of shock-jock host Otis O'Dell, host of The Otis O'Dell Show. A Brit who has taken American citizenship, Otis prides himself on being more red-white-and-blue than most "native born" Americans. He's smart, verbally dexterous and charmingly abrasive, with a reflexive sense of outrage. He'll serve as both a Greek chorus for the series and, when it suits him, a political provocateur. As the national crisis he helps foment deepens, Otis will be forced to deal with his role in the unraveling of the Republic.
D'Arcy James will appear as Graham Beller, a very capable, reasonable but long-suffering news producer and sometimes wrangler. Graham is constantly towing the line between support and tough love for his anchor.
The four actors join the previously announced Enrique Murciano, who is set to play Speaker of the House Juan Reyes, the Republican candidate for President.
Civil hails from writer and executive producer Scott Smith (A Simple Plan), who will exec-produce with Lloyd Braun and Thomas Kelly (Copper), who will also serve as showrunner. Allen Coulter (Nurse Jackie, Ray Donovan) is on board to direct the project, which will be produced by TNT Originals in association with MGM Television and Whalerock.
For Whitford, the casting comes after his Emmy-winning guest turn on Amazon's Transparent, on which he recurs. He also won an Emmy for his work on The West Wing. His other recent TV credits include Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Happyish and the HBO movie All the Way.
Vance is coming off of a celebrated turn on The People v. O.J. Simpson, in which he portrayed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. His many other TV credits include ER and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and he is next to appear in The Mummy reboot.
Jones is known for his roles in Wayward Pines, The Hunger Games films and the Captain America films.
D'Arcy James' credits include Smash, The Big C and Game Change.