THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – WGN America is going straight-to-series with Underground, tapping Christopher Meloni to star in the slave drama.
Additionally, Friday Night Lights alum Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge (Rectify) and Jessica De Gouw (Arrow, Dracula) will join the cast of the 10-episode drama. Anthony Hemingway (The Wire, Treme) will direct the first two episodes.
The L.A.-based cable network first announced it was developing Underground in August, when it went straight to series with Outsiders, its Appalachia-set 13-episode series.
From creator Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy) and Joe Pokaski (Heroes), the Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios entry follows the slaves who set foot on the fabled Underground Railroad, the secret network of men and women who risked their lives aiding them and the mercenaries tasked with hunting them down at any cost. Executive producers include Green, Pokaski, Weed Road Pictures’ Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures.
Law & Order: SVU alum Meloni — who marks his return to drama following last season’s short-lived comedy Surviving Jack — will play August, a secretive mercenary who walks a tightrope between survival and morality. Meloni had been getting multiple pilot offers this season, for both drama and comedy.
MARIE CLAIRE – There’s a well-worn path that Australian actresses tend to tread en route to stardom. A sun-drenched prime-time soap opera stint, a turn in a local indie film and then straight on a plane to Hollywood and, hopefully, fame and fortune.
Not so for Jessica De Gouw. With only a handful of local performances to her name (including Underbelly and the Kath & Kim movie), the 27-year-old starlet got her big break in 2012 after being cast in the action-packed American TV series Arrow. Over the course of three seasons, the big-budget production built up a cult following. “I get loads of really great drawings and stories [from fans],” laughs De Gouw. “[It] is unlike anything I have ever experienced before.”
Now, following the success of Arrow and a bodice-ripping rendition of Dracula opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers, De Gouw is returning to local screens in Foxtel’s Deadline Gallipoli. The miniseries, commemorating 100 years since the Anzacs landed on the Turkish peninsula, follows four war correspondents (Sam Worthington plays Phillip Schuler).
De Gouw is Vera, a nurse who strikes up a friendship with Worthington’s charming journo. “When I first read the script I was in tears,” says De Gouw. “Vera was such a strong character that I begged to be a part of the project. Thankfully, they said ‘yes’ straightaway!”
Deadline Gallipoli airs on Foxtel’s Showcase in April.
I have added poster, production still and behind the scenes photos of ‘Generation Z’ in our gallery. Jessica plays Melanie and the film will be released this year. You can read the synopsis below:
DAY ONE: RELAX. DAY TWO: HUNT. DAY THREE: RUN
Following a near-apocalyptic zombie outbreak, humans are once again in control. If an occasional rogue zombie finds its way into everyday life, it is quickly disposed of by the authorities. In this day and age, people know how to handle “Zee’s”. The latest craze is the Zombie Safari – Zafari – a chance to go out and shoot the un-dead in the wild. The ultimate blood sport experience, and for many the ultimate therapeutic revenge following the losses su!ered during the outbreak. Little do the vacationers realise they’re actually in a highly controlled environment, where the zombies are always kept at a safe shooting distance. Nothing is left to chance, nothing is unplanned.
Finally we have some official news from ‘Arrow’ executive producer Marc Guggenheim about Jessica’s character “The Huntress”!
First, thanks to the many, many, many — MANY — people on Tumblr and Twitter who’ve reached out to ask me about if, when, and how the amazingly talented and simply amazing Jessica De Gouw would be returning to Arrow.
And thank you for being patient with me as I continued to promise this update.
I have good news, bad news, and wait-and-see news.
First, the bad news…
We’d been discussing an episode that would return Helena Bertinelli to Arrow for Season 3, but it didn’t come together for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with Jessica or her willingness to return. As most of you know, despite doing 23 episodes a season — god help me — we still somehow manage to run out of room to tell certain stories (e.g., Felicity’s parents). Unfortunately, Helena’s episode in Season 3 was one of those casualties of our lack of real estate. We value Jessica and the character she created too much to waste both of them on a story we can’t give proper attention to.
Now for the good news…
Tomorrow, Helena/The Huntress will make her return to Arrow in comics form as part of our ongoing Season 2.5 series. Unlike her previous appearance in 2.5, this time the Huntress’ return is not a hoax, not a dream, and not a hallucination.
Yesterday was Jessica’s 27th birthday and I wanted to wish her the best in everything and I can only hope that 2015 will be full of great opportunities!
DEADLINE – UPDATE: Add Sarah Greene (Vikings, Noble) and Jessica De Gouw (Arrow and Deadline Gallipoli) to this short list. I’ve added their pictures at the bottom of the original story.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: 2oth Century Fox has made test deals with a small group of actresses for the female lead opposite Ryan Reynolds on Deadpool, based on the character he originated in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The film is being directed by Tim Miller, who has done strong visual effects work through his VFX house Blur Films. Miller has been developing the film for several years, from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg producing. Production begins in March.
Here are four of the actresses: Morena Baccarin, who played the long-suffering wife of POW-turned-terrorist Brody in Showtime’s Homeland and who also starred in V; Taylor Schilling, from Orange Is The New Black and who was just see at Sundance in The Overnight; Crystal Reed from Teen Wolf and Crush; and Rebecca Rittenhouse, who made a splash in the Fox series The Red Band Society. There might be another actress in the mix, and I’ll add here when someone reaches out. That’s a good crop of young actresses.
I have added Blu-Ray screencaptures of Jessica as Zoe in ‘These Final Hours’, a 2013 Australian drama film. I really enjoyed the movie and it was nice to watch Jessica in this very different role. DVD and Bluray are now available, so make sure to grab your copy!
Film Productions > These Final Hours (2014) > Blu-Ray Screen Captures
Jessica is featured in the December issue of Vogue (Australia) magazine. I have added two high quality scans in our gallery. Enjoy the interview and the new photoshoot!