After an extensive global search, newcomer Devon Terrell has landed the lead in Codes Of Conduct, HBO’s drama pilot from Steve McQueen, director of the Oscar-winning slavery feature 12 Years A Slave. The project — a provocative exploration of a young black man’s experience entering New York high society — was put on a fast-track development last October when McQueen started exploring casting choices for the lead, Beverly Snow. It was a long and exhaustive process.

“I needed to find aImage (1) stevemcqueen__131029045608.jpeg for post 622305n extraordinary actor,” said McQueen, who co-wrote and is directing the pilot. “Although you’re trying to find something you recognize, it’s more about finding something you’re surprised by.  Devon had this quality.  It was no easy task casting the character of Beverly Snow and, with the help of HBO, we left no stone unturned. This was a 10-month intense process in which we came across many talented actors, but only one Beverly.”

Terrell is a fresh face with no screen credits to his name. Born in Long Beach, CA and brought up in Perth, Australia, he attended Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating just last year.

Co-written McQueen and World War Z co-writer Matthew Michael Carnahan, Codes Of Conduct, which has been formally picked up to pilot, centers on Beverly Snow, a young man from Queens as talented as he is ambiguous. His self-confidence will enable him to break into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of access and social mobility. Throughout the series, Beverly’s ability will grant him access to a life larger in every way than the one to which he was born. His chameleon-like approach to life will test his nerve as he takes his future into his own hands.

McQueen and Carnahan executive produce with hip-hop mogul/producer Russell Simmons, who has a deal at HBO, and Oscar-winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech).