The real-world coronavirus is gradually starting to release its grip on our lives just as another fictional project about a devastating pandemic is ramping up production. HBO Max’s long-awaited adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel’s acclaimed novel Station Eleven has just added a ton of new cast members.
Station Eleven takes place across a period of years, mostly focusing on the survivors of a global outbreak — including a travelling theatre troupe — as they try to hold onto hope and a sense of humanity in a world that’s slowly trying to rebuild, but has run into some pretty intense post-apocalyptic problems (like creepy cults, for instance). Unlike Stephen King’s The Stand, which recently got a new adaptation at CBS All Access (now Paramount+), there’s no overt supernatural element here; instead, it’s mostly about how ordinary people react when thrust into traumatic and extraordinary circumstances.
With that in mind, casting the right actors is especially important. Way back in 2019, Station Eleven tapped Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate) and Himesh Patel (Yesterday) as main characters Kirsten and Jeevan, whose stories play out in different timelines, and Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) as a Hollywood star who crosses paths with both of them. There were no updates in today’s HBO Max announcement as to whether those actors are still in place, but a ton of new castings were confirmed.
According to a press release, joining as series regulars are Daniel Zovatto (Penny Dreadful: City of Angels) as “the Prophet, the enigmatic leader of a mysterious cult of young people,” while Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Orange Is the New Black) will play “the Conductor, the leader of a group of travelling Shakespeare performers.”
Then, as recurring guest stars: Andy McQueen (Books of Blood) as “Sayid, a charming, impatient actor in the Travelling Symphony;” David Cross
(Arrested Development) as “Gil, a brilliant but temperamental theatre director;” Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) as “Brian, agent to a world-famous actress until the pandemic upends the world as he knew it;” and Julian Obradors (Mayans M.C.) as “Tyler Leander, the precocious son of two movie stars, who learns painful life lessons by watching the adults around him respond to crisis.”
Station Eleven will run for 10 episodes as a limited series created by Patrick Somerville (Maniac, The Leftovers); he’ll showrun, with Hiro Murai (Atlanta, Barry, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” video) directing. No word yet on when we’ll get to see the series hit HBO Max, but considering that the cast is really taking shape, it seems like production can’t be too far in the future.