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The Obamas have set their first scripted drama series at Netflix, which has tapped Will Forte to star in the darkly comedic thriller Bodkin.
Jez Scharf (Mister Biscuits, The UnDream) created the seven-episode series about a group of podcasters who investigate a missing persons case. Scharf and Alex Metcalf (The Loudest Voice, Sharp Objects, Netflix’s Kingdom) serve as co-showrunners and exec produce the series alongside Wiip’s David Flynn and Paul Lee. Nash Edgerton (Mr Inbetween) is set to serve as the drama’s lead director.
Barack and Michelle Obama will also exec produce Bodkin through their Higher Ground production company, which is based at Netflix with an overall deal. Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis will also exec produce. Former Wiip creative lead Nne Ebong will also exec produce for Netflix, where she serves as a key member of the streamer’s overall deals team. The project reunited Ebong with Lee. The duo, in addition to time together at Wiip, also had senior roles at ABC (as head of drama and entertainment, respectively).
Bodkin is Higher Ground’s first scripted drama series for Netflix and joins a slate that also includes its first live-action scripted comedy, animated kids entry Ada Twist, We the People, American Factory, Crip Camp, Becoming and Fatherhood.
In addition to Forte, the cast includes Siobhán Cullen (The Dry), Robyn Cara (Trying), David Wilmot (Station Eleven) and Chris Walley (The Last Voyage of the Demeter).
“We are ecstatic to partner with Wiip for this wickedly wry thriller, which questions truth, narrative and the very purpose of each,” said Davis, who heads film and TV for Higher Ground. “This entire creative team — Jez, Alex, Nash and the phenomenal cast led by Will Forte and Siobhán Cullen — will bring to life something very special and we can’t wait to share it with audiences around the world.”
Here’s the show’s official logline, followed by character descriptions: “Bodkin is a darkly comedic thriller about a motley crew of podcasters who set out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of three strangers in an idyllic, coastal Irish town. But once they start pulling at threads, they discover a story much bigger and weirder than they could have ever imagined. As our heroes try to discern fact from fiction — about the case, about their colleagues and, most painfully, themselves — the series challenges our perception of truth and exposes the stories we tell ourselves to justify our beliefs or validate our fears.”
Forte plays Gilbert: Charming, open and enthusiastic, Gilbert Power is an American podcaster on the hunt for his next big story. Originally from Chicago, Gilbert’s family emigrated from Cork, and he is hoping to discover his Irish roots. Gilbert loves his work, and using his undeniable charm and natural warmth to unearth the truth of a story by gaining people’s trust — and then weaving their memories, recollections and theories into an engaging narrative. While his affect is innocent and charming, it’s clear that there’s much more going on underneath the surface — something he hopes to avoid by coming to Ireland in pursuit of material for his next podcast.
Cullen plays Dove: Originally from Dublin, Dove is a truth-seeking missile. A hard-nosed investigative journalist with a fine-tuned bullshit detector and a healthy disdain for authority and hypocrisy. People find Dove rude, “difficult.” But she believes she just tells the truth, which makes her completely blind to her own bullshit and hypocrisy. She’s also funny. And brave. And brilliant. She can also be extremely charming and persuasive. Unfortunately, she’s in the middle of the biggest professional crisis of her career — and when you live your life as a lone wolf, your career tends to be all you have.
Cara plays Emmy: Bright, funny and eager to please, Emmy is a researcher and has been helping Gilbert organize this podcast to a “T.” But underneath her competent exterior, Emmy is clearly gnawed at by insecurities which she tries to hide with enthusiasm and comedy. Pulled between the sharp Dove and laconic Gilbert, Emmy’s is struggling to find her own voice.
Wilmot plays Seamus Gallagher: Seamus carries the weight and presence of a man who was physically powerful in his younger years. Mercurial and mysterious, Seamus can turn on the charm when it serves his needs, however he can just as quickly snap into outbursts of violence when he feels he is being threatened.
Chris Walley plays Sean O’Shea: A local from the village of Bodkin, Sean is a typical Irish country lad — feckless, up for a laugh, and doesn’t seem to be preoccupied with the obligations or responsibilities that usually accompany adulthood. He also is wrapped up in some pretty shady business, and a situation where we come to learn he is completely out of his depth.
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