11:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Mary J. Blige to Co-Star in Netflix's 'Umbrella Academy'
Mary J. Blige is turning her attention to television.
The singer-actress, currently nominated for two Academy Awards for Netflix feature Mudbound, is staying put at the streaming giant with a co-starring role in Umbrella Academy. Blige, nominated for supporting actress and original song, will segue to television with her first series regular role in the adaptation of Gerard Way's comic series. After receiving offers from multiple streamers and networks, Blige will join the cast in what sources say is a one-year deal.
Umbrella Academy follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes (aka the Umbrella Academy): the Monocle, Spaceboy, the Kraken, the Rumor, the Séance, Number Five, the Horror and the White Violin. Together, they work to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams because of their divergent personalities and abilities. The series was praised for its alternate and twisted take on the superhero genre.
Blige will take on the role of Cha-Cha, a ruthless and unorthodox hit-woman who travels through time to kill assigned targets. Even though she has a few gripes about the bureaucracy of her employers, this job is her life. She is sadistic, sociopathic, and her reputation precedes her. Her true love is torture, and she thinks of herself as a "pain artist." She really doesn't care for people — except for her partner Hazel (uncast).
Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castaneda, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher and Ellen Page star in the straight-to-series drama based on the Eisner Award-winning comics.
Steve Blackman (Fargo, Netflix's Altered Carbon) will serve as showrunner and executive produce alongside Bluegrass Television, and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Umbrella Academy creator Way (of the rock band My Chemical Romance) will co-exec produce the UCP production. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist). The 10-episode drama does not yet have a premiere date.
Blige, who sources say wanted to get into the action space, is repped by APA and Grubman Shire.