Matthew Goode to Star in WGN America's Sci-Fi Pilot 'Roadside Picnic'

Matthew Goode H 2016
Courtesy of spt

WGN America's sci-fi drama Roadside Picnic has found its star.

Matthew Goode is set to topline the pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strugatskys, Roadside Picnic explores a near-future world where aliens have come and gone, leaving humankind to explore the wondrous and dangerous mysteries left behind. The story also examines the social ramifications of their visit, as seen through the eyes of Red, a veteran “stalker” who has made it his mission to illegally venture into the once-inhabited "Zone" and scavenge the abandoned remains of the alien culture.

Goode will play Redrick "Red" Shuhart, an "enigmatic, blue-collar contradiction" who can be quietly intelligent one moment and utterly ruthless the next. Red has a loving relationship with his wife Guta and his daughter Marie — who is shunned because she is a child of the "Zone," the site of a long-ago extraterrestrial visitation. Red used to be a “Stalker," one of the brave souls willing to risk their lives by illegally entering the Zone to sell what they find on the black market. Recently out of prison, Red finds his troubles are just beginning.

Jack Paglen (Alien: Covenant) will pen the pilot, which will be directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones). The two also will executive produce with Neal Moritz (Fast and the Furious) and Vivian Cannon (Preacher). Sony Pictures Television will produce.

In addition to his arc on the final season of Downton Abbey, Goode also appeared on the fifth and sixth seasons of The Good Wife and, most recently, Roots. His other credits include The Imitation Game, Watchmen and Match Point. Upcoming films include The Hatton Garden Job, Four Kids and It and Robert Zemeckis' Allied. Goode is repped by CAA, and Dalzell and Beresford.

Roadside Picnic is one of two pilots at WGN America — the other being an adaptation of the DC graphic novel series Scalped — as the network looks to build on the recent success of original series Underground and Outsiders. Both debuted earlier this year and have been renewed for second seasons. Sony also produced Underground and Outsiders.