EXCLUSIVE: I hear FlashForward alum Jack Davenport will co-star opposite Debra Messing in the NBC hourlong pilot Smash, which was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, from DreamWorks TV and UMS, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway led by the musical’s composer Tom and lyricist Julia (Messing). British actor Davenport will play Derek, a fierce and intelligent musical choreographer trying to find his next big project who loves the idea of the Marilyn Monroe musical. Davenport also joins Megan Hilty in the pilot, written by Theresa Rebeck and to be directed by Michael Mayer. Smash landed Davenport in a competitive situation as he was also holding an offer for the lead in Marc Cherry’s ABC pilot Hallelujah. Davenport, repped by Gersh and Sanders Armstrong Caserta, also starred in the CBS’ praised drama Swingtown and in Coupling (the original hit British version) and co-starred in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Another Brit, The Beautiful Life alumna Ashley Madekwe is the first actress to be cast in ABC’s drama pilot Revenge, written by Swingtown creator Mike Kelley and to be directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a contemporary re-imagening of The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective and centers on Emily Thorn, a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. Madekwe will play a close friend of Emily who works for the people who wronged her. Word is Kelley, who exec produced the CW’s short-lived Beautiful Life, wrote the character with Madekwe in mind. Madekwe, repped by The Collective and UK’s Gordon and French, also co-starred in the NBC comedy pilot The Pink House and the British series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.