Aussie actors shine in US pilots season and series
The US TV pilots season traditionally has been a great launching pad or career-accelerator for Australian talent and this year is proving to be highly productive.
Andrea Demetriades, Felix Mallard, Pallavi Sharda and Harriet Dyer have scored their first roles in US-based projects while Ben Lawson, Luke Arnold, Josh Helman, Thomas Cocquerel and Bella Heathcote are adding to their impressive resumes.
Casting is still underway as pilot season runs until the end of April so expect more names to join those ranks.
A regular on Designated Survivor, Lawson will star alongside Mark L. Young, Bellamy Young, Shelley Hennig, Kosha Patel and Vanessa Williams in ABC’s False Profits pilot.
Written by Code Black’s Kayla Alpert, the show centres on a team of down-and-out women in suburban Arizona as they fight their way to the top of the cutthroat world of a cosmetics marketing business.
Lawson will play Jake Amato, the building manager of the TJ Maxx, a blue collar guy who has a flirty relationship with Laura (Young). He will next be seen in season 2 of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, which follows a teenager’s efforts to discover why his classmate and unrequited love committed suicide.
Reuniting after the ABC’s medical drama Pulse, Demetriades and Sharda have been cast in the CBS drama pilot Murder alongside Leonard Roberts, Michael Chiklis and Teyonah Parris.
Directed by Anthony Hemingway and adapted by Amanda Green from the British miniseries, the show will see Detectives Mason Garrity (Chiklis) and Ayana Lake (Parris) invite the audience inside each investigation to discern the truth and judge the suspects’ guilt or innocence. Filming starts next week in New York City.
Currently on screen in Jungle Entertainment’s Squinters, Demetriades will play Raquel Bennett, a highly skilled Legal Aid defence attorney with a magnetic personality which makes even her opponents enjoy facing her at trial.
Sharda will portray Dr. Parvati Agrawal, a forensic pathologist whose professional compassion comes at a personal cost as her obsession with her work leads her into dangerous territory. Sharda has starred in numerous Bollywood films and in Lion.
Neighbours star Mallard will play the lead opposite Damon Wayans Jr. in an untitled CBS comedy pilot from writers Tim McAuliffe (The Last Man on Earth) and Austen Earl (The Millers).
Wayans is cast as a guy named Peter who lives with his partner Claire. The couple are tired of their mundane suburban lives and want to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when emerging pop star Cooper (Mallard) moves in.
Mallard went to Los Angeles for his first meetings with agents and producers last September during his break from Neighbours and went back to LA for pilot season after he left the soap.
Dyer will star in the NBC drama pilot In Between Lives as Cassie, a mysterious young woman who reluctantly uses her gift of clairvoyance to help a veteran LAPD detective and a damaged ex-FBI outsider solve the most unnerving and challenging cases. In a twist, she is able to see and talk to the dead who are seeking help for unresolved problems.
Moira Kirland wrote the screenplay for the producers, Heyday Television — the joint venture of Harry Potter and Paddington producer David Heyman and NBCUniversal International Studios — and Universal TV. Dyer’s credits include Love Child, The Letdown, No Activity, Rake and Hyde & Seek.
After starring in Starz’ adventure Black Sails, Luke Arnold has landed a series regular role on ABC drama pilot For Love. Written by Michael Cooney, directed by John Dahl and set in New Orleans, the show centres on Hope Castille, who gets a phone call from her fiancé who was killed five years ago. Arnold will play Christof Dumaine, her younger brother who wreaks havoc.
Josh Helman has been cast as the male lead opposite Gage Golightly and Quinta Brunson in the CW’s comedic drama pilot The End of the World as We Know It, written by Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker and directed by Glen Winter.
Helman will play Quinn, a space cop who is recruited to hunt down alien criminals who have camouflaged themselves as eccentric Los Angelenos. He was a regular in the second season of Fox’s Wayward Pines and in Starz’ ballet drama Flesh and Bone.
Thomas Cocquerel will star opposite Kylie Bunbury in ABC’s Get Christie Love, which was inspired by the cult 1974 blaxploitation-themed TV movie which starred Teresa Graves and led to a TV series.
The action packed, music-driven drama follows Christie Love (Bunbury), an African-American CIA agent who leads an elite ops unit and transforms into whoever she needs to be to get the job done.
Cocquerel will play Adam, one the youngest team members of her counterintelligence unit, who is smooth and a bit cocky. Courtney Kemp, the creator/showrunner of Power, wrote the screenplay and Stephen Williams directs.
He recently played the lead in Ben Hackworth’s romantic drama Celeste opposite Radha Mitchell and Odessa Young, which Curious Film will release in Oz.
Heathcote is starring opposite Jack Reynor in the CBS All Access drama series Strange Angel from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and CBS TV Studios.
Created by Mark Heyman and based on George Pendle’s book of the same name, it is inspired by the real-life story of Jack Parsons and explores the intersections between genius and madness, science and science fiction.
Heathcote is playing Jack’s devoted and fiercely intelligent wife Susan, who supports him financially and emotionally.
Bella has a recurring role as Nicole Dormer in Amazon’s original drama The Man In The High Castle, which is going into its third season. Her latest film role was in Fifty Shades Darker.