In the last wave of pilot castings, the pilots are booking actors for guest starring roles, most of them with potential to recur if the pilots go to series. Here are several notable guest signings:
Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson and Comedy Central roast master Jeff Ross, host of The Burn With Jeff Ross, will guest star in Fox’s Boomerang. Merkerson plays a mysterious agency bureaucrat; Ross, repped by Thruline and WME, plays an agency handler of operatives. Merkerson, repped by ICM Partners and manager Bob McGowan, recurs on NBC’s Deception and just signed on to co-star in the Marvin Gaye biopic.
Melinda McGraw (Men Of A Certain Age) has joined Fox’s drama Delirium after recently recurring on the network’s comedy Ben & Kate. Repped by Domain and McKeon/Myones, she will play Lydia, the image-conscious wife of Thomas Fineman. Read More »
Sexual Healing is becoming a bit of a mini-Law & Order reunion. S. Epatha Merkerson, who played Lt. Anita van Buren on the series for 19 years, is in negotiations to play Marvin’s Gaye’s mother Alberta in the music biopic. Currently seen in a recurring role on NBC’s Deception, Merkerson would join fellow Law & Order actor Jesse L Martin in the Julien Temple-directed film. Martin signed on recently to play the Motown legend after initial lead Lenny Kravitz dropped out following legal concerns by Gaye’s heirs. Those concerns have now been put to rest and the movie is moving ahead, with Brendan Gleeson co-starring as British music promoter Freddy Cousaert. Vassal Benford and Fred Bestall are producing. Sexual Healing focuses on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of Cousaert. Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984 with his mother in the house. Merkerson is repped by ICM Partners, McGowan Management and attorney Roger S. Haber.
EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order alumna S. Epatha Merkerson is returning to NBC with a recurring role on the network’s upcoming drama series Deception. The show, from writer Liz Heldens, Universal TV and BermanBraun, is described as an opulent soap in which detective Joanna Padget (Meagan Good) returns undercover to the wealthy and troubled Bower family she grew up in — as the maid’s daughter — to solve the murder of the notorious heiress Vivian Bower who was once her closest friend. Emmy winner Merkerson, repped by ICM Partners and Bob McGowan, will play Joanna’s mom Beverly Padget, who worked for the Bowers family when Joanna was a young girl. Read More »
Michael Clarke Duncan and S. Epatha Merkerson have signed on for director-writer-director Kent Moran’s upcoming boxing drama The Challenger. The film centers on a struggling Bronx auto mechanic (Moran) who is forced back into boxing after he and his mother are evicted from their home and is helped by a legendary trainer (Duncan). Justin Hartley (Smallville), Ernie Sabella (The Lion King) and Lindsay Hartley (All My Children) will round out the cast. Moran’s production company, Wishing Well Pictures, will wholly produce Challenger, which began filming this month in New York City. Duncan, an Oscar nommed for his role in The Green Mile opposite Tom Hanks, currently appears in Fox’s crime drama The Finder. Merkerson received multiple awards for her role as Rachel “Nanny” Crosby in the 2006 HBO miniseries Lackawanna Blues. APA reps Duncan.
In a recasting, Margo Martindale has been tapped for a co-starring role in CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant supernatural medical drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing the pilot, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Gersh-repped Martindale will play Michael’s sassy and strong-willed assistant Rita. Martindale replaces Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson who was originally cast in the role. The recasting was made shortly after Merkerson began filming the pilot. Tony-nominated Martindale has been recurring on FX’s Justified.
Veteran Hector Elizondo has joined ABC’s untitled Tim Allen comedy pilot. The multicamera project, from writer Jack Burditt, centers on Tim Fitzgerald (Allen) who, even though the world around him has declared the traditional male an “endangered species,” is fighting for his manhood in a world that is being increasingly dominated by women. Elizondo, repped by Gersh and manager Mark Teitelbaum, will play his boss at the Euclid Demolition Company who steps down from his post and makes Tim the president of the company.
Stella Maeve has landed the last lead in the NBC comedy pilot Lovelives. The multi-camera comedy … Read More »
Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson has joined CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant supernatural medical drama pilot. Jonathan Demme is directing the pilot, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Merkerson will play Michael’s assistant Rita. Without her help, he probably wouldn’t make it through the day as she is really the person running the office. Sassy and strong willed, Rita is not someone you should cross. Merkerson joins another late addition to the cast of the medical drama pilot, Julie Benz. Merkerson was approached for several projects in her first pilot season following her 16-year stint on Law & Order. The Emmy-winning actress, repped by ICM and Bob McGowan plays the lead in the upcoming Lionsgate/Tyler Perry movie We the Peoples, now in post-production.