'Dovekeepers': 'Manhattan' Actress to Topline Mark Burnett-Roma Downey Mini

Rachel Brosnahan Beautiful Creatures Premiere - H 2014
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Rachel Brosnahan Beautiful Creatures Premiere - H 2014

CBS' The Dovekeepers adaptation has cast its leading lady.

Manhattan co-star Rachel Brosnahan has been tapped to topline the four-hour mini based on Alice Hoffman's historical novel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.  

The Dovekeepers centers on four women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada. Set in ancient Israel, The Dovekeepers is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The mini will recount the unfolding events from the perspective of four women who arrive at Masada independently and with unique backstories, but who share a common bond for survival.

Brosnahan will play Yael, a uniquely beautiful and fearless young woman whose mother died in childbirth, and whose father forever blames her for that loss. During the dangerous journey they make together through the desert, Yael has a whirlwind romance that will haunt her life even after they arrive at Masada. Yet, Yael is able to find comfort from her supportive warrior brother, Amram (Diego Boneta), and kinship from her fellow dovekeeper, Shirah (Cote de Pablo), as these two extraordinary women fight for survival in a crumbling world. 

"I really admire Rachel’s work and find her to be one of the most exciting young actresses of our time," exec producer Roma Downey said. "I have no doubt that she will bring courage and dignity to this unique character."

Dovekeepers, picked up straight to series in December, marks the first project to come from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios' recently announced limited series and event programming unit under the newly hired Stacy Mandelberg. It will be distributed worldwide by CBS Studios International. The mini is a co-production between CBS Television Studios and LightWorkers Media. Downey and Mark Burnett will exec produce. Mandelberg, vp limited series and event programming, will oversee production. Frank SiracusaJohn Weber and Yves Simoneau also exec produce, with the latter on board to direct. Ann Peacock adapted the novel for CBS.

Brosnahan currently stars in WGN America's atomic bomb drama Manhattan and next appears in HBO's Olive Kitteridge mini. Her TV credits include House of Cards, The Black List, Black Box, Orange Is the New Black and the film Beautiful Creatures.  She's repped by Innovative, Carole Dibo Talent  Management and Schreck Rose.

Dovekeepers will debut in 2015.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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