Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker has been cast as the lead of HBO’s Cold War spy drama pilot The Missionary, from film/TV writer Charles Randolph, producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg and author Malcolm Gladwell. Set in Berlin in the late 1960s, The Missionary centers on Roy (Walker), a young American missionary who gets caught up in Cold War intrigue while helping a young woman escape East Berlin. Baltasar Kormakur is directing.
Missionary, written by Randolph, was greenlighted to pilot in June. At the time, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul was in talks for the lead but he eventually couldn’t commit to the project, which will be filming in Europe. Randolph and New Yorker writer Gladwell, who are friends, had been working on an idea for a spy project when they met with Levinson and Wahlberg, who also had been looking to do a spy drama. The four joined forces and last fall took the project to HBO, where Levinson and Wahlberg have produced four series: Boardwalk Empire, Entourage, In Treatment and How To Make It In America. Randolph, Levinson, Gladwell and Wahlberg executive produce The Missionary, which HBO is producing in association with Levinson’s Leverage and Wahlberg’s Closest to the Hole Prods. The Missionary is the second Cold War-era cable spy drama pilot this year, along with FX’s The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, which has already been picked up to series. Feature and stage actor Walker, repped by WME and Inspire Entertainment, is best known for playing the title role in this year’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He also appeared in Kinsey and Clint Eastwood’s Flags Of Our Fathers.