STARS SPREAD THEIR WINGS
The crop of new TV pilots is attracting some highprofile stars, writes Guy Davis.
light to become ongoing series, let alone become breakout hits.
But given the calibre of actor attached to some of these shows, you’d have to admit a few of them look like pretty good bets.
Every “ pilot season” in the US, there are one or two actors who are on every wish list. And for the past couple of years, one of them has been Jason Isaacs, the British star of the gritty pay-TV drama Brotherhood. He’s perhaps better known, however, as the silkily venomous Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.
Isaacs recently won the lead role in REM, a sci-fi thriller described as a small-screen Inception. It also has a bit of a Life on Mars feel, being the story of a cop who wakes up after an accident to find himself shifting between two different realities.
For a while there, Ashley Judd had a genre all to herself – barely a week went by without her crusading for justice or going head-to-head with a serial killer or tracking down the people who’d betrayed her to exact a little payback.
Her starring role in the upcoming Missing looks like a variation on that theme ( as well as a female take on the Liam Neeson thriller Taken): Judd’s character Becca Winstone travels to Europe to track down her teenage son, who’s vanished mysteriously. Good thing that Becca’s a former CIA operative, huh?
Kiefer Sutherland revitalised his career with his role as around-the-clock action man Jack Bauer on 24, and this pilot season sees him returning to TV on The Confession and Touch, playing the father of a mute, autistic child with the ability to predict the future.
And while Hollywood has worked overtime in the past few years to make its own version of the great UK cop drama Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, its efforts may finally have paid off: Oscarnominated actress Maria Bello has been cast in the pivotal role of a tough New York City cop trying to do her job in a precinct dominated by men.
Then there’s Minnie Driver, starring in the crime caper Hail Mary; Ryan Philippe, rumoured to be starring in Poe, a crime drama that has legendary author Edgar Allen Poe solving crimes in 19th-century Boston; and Christina Ricci, who has just taken the lead role in the ’ 60s-era jet-set drama Pan Am.
Taking off: Film stars Jason Isaacs, Alec Baldwin and Kate Winslet step over to
the small screen.