10:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Syfy Sets Key Cast for 'The Magicians'
Syfy's The Magicians adaptation is moving forward, with the cable network setting a few key roles for the pilot.
Stella Maeve (Chicago PD), Hale Appleman (Teeth) and Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) have boarded the pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The adaptation of Lev Grossman's best-selling book series, from Universal Cable Productions, centers on Quentin and Alice, two 20-somethings who, while studying magic in New York, discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as kids is real and poses a grave danger to humanity. John McNamara (Prime Suspect) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural) will pen the script, with Michael London (Milk) producing. Mike Cahill will direct the pilot, which begins production in December in New Orleans.
Maeve will play Julia, a wealthy and brilliant Ivy Leaguer who seems destined for success. Her plans are altered after she is denied admittance to the mysterious Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. Unaccustomed to failure, Julia finds life meaningless now that the possibilities of a previously unseen magical world have been denied to her. But she may get another chance to pursue a career in magic when she’s recruited by a secret society. She's repped by Paradigm and Principato Young Entertainment.
Appleman is set as Eliot, a student at Brakebills who is an odd combination of a preppy with intrinsic coolness. He’s a natural leader of his fellow magical students and proves a sometimes frustrating ally in Quentin's fortunes — and may factor into a series of perilous adventures. He is repped by Innovative Artists and D2 Management.
Gupta will take on the role of Penny, Quentin's roommate and fellow magic student at Brakebills. A reluctant telepath, he is bedeviled by voices that hint at pathways to other worlds. Gupta played Sam in the first three seasons of Nurse Jackie and currently recurs on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. He is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.
The two lead roles have yet to be cast.