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Jesse Williams has lined up his first TV role since departing Grey’s Anatomy.
Williams will star opposite Aubrey Plaza and Ramón Rodriguez in Olga Dies Dreaming, a Hulu pilot based on Xóchitl Gonzalez’s forthcoming debut novel. The Disney-run streamer snagged rights to the book and ordered a pilot for the drama in April.
Olga Dies Dreaming will be published in January by Flatiron Books, which won a 10-way auction for Gonzalez’s manuscript. The book and Hulu pilot center on a Nuyorican brother and sister (Rodriguez and Plaza) from a gentrifying Sunset Park, Brooklyn, reckoning with their absent, politically radical mother and their glittering careers among New York City’s elite in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Williams will play Matteo Jones, who’s described as a collector of music, objects, trivia and, mainly, opinions. A passionate Brooklynite, he would come across as a know it all if, in fact, he wasn’t so genuinely curious about everything. Matteo is keenly aware of people’s inclination to put everyone and everything into neat little boxes and he firmly refuses to conform.
The project is Williams’ first TV role since he departed Grey’s Anatomy in May, near the end of the ABC drama’s 17th season. He said he, showrunner Krista Vernoff and other writers came to an “organic, collective decision” to write Dr. Jackson Avery out of the show he called home for 11 years: “It was something we found and understood and were trying to honor it and do properly,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was a team effort throughout. It didn’t feel like any one of us coming to the other and having an outcome predetermined.”
Williams is slated to return to the Broadway production of Take Me Out when it returns to the stage early next year; he’s also attached to several feature films, including producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s Secret Headquarters at Paramount. He is repped by Management 360, CAA and Granderson Des Rochers.
Gonzalez will adapt her novel for the pilot and executive produce with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Plaza and Rodriguez are producers.
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