USA's 'Queen of the South' Adaptation Finds Its Star (Exclusive)

Alice Braga - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Alice Braga - H 2014

USA Network has found its lead for Queen of the South.

Brazilian actress Alice Braga (Elysium, I Am Legend, City of God) will topline the one-hour drama pilot, an adaptation of Arturo Perez-Reverte's best-selling novel La Reina Del Sur, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Read more Telenovela 'Queen of the South' Lands Pilot Order at USA

Queen of the South, from Fox Television Studios, centers on Teresa Mendoza (Braga), who after her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico, is forced to go on the run and seek refuge in America. There, she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the same drug-trafficking ring that has her on the run. In the process, she learns the tools of the trade and strategically positions herself to become the leader of the cartel.

Growing up in Mexico, Teresa had to fend for herself from a very young age, learning quickly what she needed to do to make a little money. Smart, savvy and observant, she's anxious to have a better life. Her grit and determination to stay alive and to thrive catapults her to become one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Read more Christian Slater to Topline USA's Hacker Drama 'Mr. Robot'

Perez-Reverte's novel was published in 2002 and became an international best seller, spawning a Spanish-language series that debuted in February 2011 on USA's sister network Telemundo with star Katie del Castillo. La Reina Del Sur, which ended its 63-episode run with a network record 4.2 million viewers, is one of the most popular telenovelas ever for Telemundo — often beating English-language programs on U.S. broadcast networks, prompting its first Emmy campaign.

M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller (The Final Girls) will pen the pilot script and executive produce alongside David Friendly (Little Miss Sunshine) and Pancho Mansfield (Damien).

This marks Braga's first big U.S. television role. Her previous small-screen credits were two parts in a non-English series. Braga is repped by WME and ROAR.

For USA, Queen of the South is one of four drama pilots vying for series consideration, joining Stanistan, starring Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter; Colony, from Carlton Cuse and starring Josh Holloway; and Mr. Robot, toplined by Christian Slater.

Fox TV Studios already has a strong presence on USA with series such as White Collar, entering its final season, GracelandSirens and the upcoming medical drama Complications.

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