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WGN America’s atomic bomb drama Manhattan has cast its female lead.
Dollhouse and The Sixth Sense alum Olivia Williams will co-star opposite The Big C‘s John Benjamin Hickey, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The drama follows the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, N.M., and centers on brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.
Hickey stars as Frank Winter, a brilliant and self-destructive physics professor tapped to help lead the Manhattan Project, a mission that will jeopardize his family and his sanity. Williams will play Liza Winter, a brilliant botanist with a complicated past who begins to notice unsettling changes to the environment when she accompanies her husband Frank to the secret birthplace of the atomic bomb.
Masters of Sex‘s Sam Shaw created the series and will write and executive produce alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. Emmy-winning director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing) will direct and exec produce via his Shoe Money Productions banner. Production on Manhattan will begin in March in New Mexico for a July premiere. WGN America picked up Manhattan from Skydance Television, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate Television with a straight-to-series 13-episode order in September.
English film and stage actress Williams’ credits include Terriers and Case Sensitive, along with features Seventh Son, Sabotage and The Last Days on Mars. She’s repped by ICM Partners and Independent Talent Group.
She joins previously announced co-stars Daniel Stern as Glen, a mentor to the young physicists working on the Manhattan Project; Rachel Brosnahan as Abby Abrams, a girl from Boston whose life is transformed forever when she agrees on a whim to go to the middle of nowhere with her husband; Ashley Zukerman as Charlie Abrams, a brilliant but untested wunderkind married to Abby; and Harry Lloyd as Paul Crosley, an ambitious Oxford-educated physicist whose loyalties are called into question as he works to build the world’s first atomic bomb, among others.
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