Tim Peper (Complications) is set as the lead and Josh PenceMercedes Mason (666 Park Avenue) and Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises) will co-star in White City, AMC’s geopolitical drama pilot directed and exec produced by Stephen Gaghan. The project, about Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan, centers on Jon Liston (Peper), a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage.

Mason, who sometimes is credited as Mercedes Masohn, is repped by Gersh and Luber/Roklin and will play Lizzie Ghaffari, the new deputy political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

Pence, repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content, will play Tommie Pierson, a reporter with the New York Times and ex-pat living in Kabul who’s involved in a romantic relationship with Heloise.

amclogo4__140305172543-275x125__140516202144White City comes from co-writers/co-executive producers Nick McDonell, a novelist and journalist who has covered Iraq and Afghanistan for Time, and John Dempsey, former longtime resident of Kabul and senior adviser on Afghanistan to the late U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke. Chris Mundy (Low Winter Sun) and ex-Viacom CEO Tom Freston, a former resident of Afghanistan, currently an adviser to Vice and Moby Group, an Afghan media corporation, are exec producers. Peper is repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Related: 2014 AMC Pilots