'Silence of the Lambs': CBS Sequel Finds Its New Clarice

Rebecca Breeds will play the title role in the drama pilot, which has a big commitment from the network.
Don Arnold/WireImage
Rebecca Breeds

CBS has found its Clarice Starling.

Rebecca Breeds (The Originals, Pretty Little Liars) will play the FBI agent in Clarice, a drama pilot that's set a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. The project from Star Trek franchise captain Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet has a sizable series commitment from the network.

Taking place in 1993, the drama takes a deep dive into the untold personal story of Clarice Starling (whom Jodie Foster played in the 1991 film) as she returns to the field to pursue serial murderers and sexual predators while navigating the high-stakes political world of Washington.

Clarice is brilliant and vulnerable, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Virginia. Her bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her. Her complex psychological makeup comes from a challenging childhood, and her drive comes from her need to escape the burden of family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life.

Breeds had recurring roles on The Originals at The CW and Freeform's Pretty Little Liars. Her credits also include CBS' The Code and We Are Men and Home and Away in her native Australia. The actress is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Mark Morrissey Management in Australia.

Kurtzman and Lumet, a co-showrunner of Star Trek: Discovery at CBS All Access, wrote Clarice and will executive produce with Heather Kadin. Aaron Baiers is a co-EP. The project is a co-production of MGM TV, which owns the rights to Silence of the Lambs, and CBS TV Studios, where Kurtzman's company Secret Hideout is based. 

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter last month that a writers room for the show had already opened, with plans for a pilot to be made ahead of a formal series order. 

"After more than 20 years of silence, we’re privileged to give voice to one of America’s most enduring heroes — Clarice Starling,” Kurtzman and Lumet said in announcing Clarice in January. "Clarice’s bravery and complexity have always lit the way, even as her personal story remained in the dark. But hers is the very story we need today: her struggle, her resilience, her victory. Her time is now, and always."

The CBS project is the latest attempt to bring the characters first brought to life in Thomas Harris' novels to television. Lifetime had a Starling-focused series in development in 2012 that took place soon after she graduates from the FBI Academy. NBC's Hannibal, the Bryan Fuller-led series focusing on serial killer Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham, ran for three critically acclaimed but lightly watched seasons.