The crew of Beau Willimon’s (House of Cards) The First is starting to take shape, as Oded Fehr (Covert Affairs, 24: Legacy) and James Ransone (Bosch, Mosaic) have joined the cast of Hulu‘s straight-to-series science fiction-drama series slated to premiere on the streaming service and U.K.’s Channel 4 in 2018.
Scheduled to begin production later this year, Fehr and Ransone will be joining previously announced cast members Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking, The Game) and Natascha McElhone (Ronin, Californication).
Written by Willimon, The First examines the first human mission to Mars, exploring the triumphs and challenges that come with taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization. The focus of the series will not be solely on the astronauts, but also on their families and loved ones, as well as the ground team on Earth responsible for keeping them alive.
While no specific details about Fehr’s or Ransone’s character have been revealed, we do know that Penn will be playing former NASA astronaut Tom Haggerty; and McElhone will most likely portray the British CEO of the company backing this initial mission to Mars.
For Willimon, having an actor of Penn’s caliber attached to star elevates the quality of the project overall:
“I have such deep admiration for Sean’s immense talent and extraordinary body of work. I feel very lucky to be collaborating with an artist of his caliber.”
When it comes to McElhone, Willimon welcomes the creative spirit that the actress brings to the series:
“What I so admire about Natascha’s work is the fearlessness and honesty she brings to every role. She’s a wonderfully talented adventurer of the spirit, and I’m thrilled to be embarking on this journey with her.”
The First is executive produced by Willimon and his producing partner Jordan Tappisis. The series is owned and produced by Westward Productions and co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4, IMG, and AG Studios.