Eddie Izzard is set to star in HBO drama pilot The Devil You Know (formerly New World). Also cast in the project, co-written by Orange Is The New Black creator Jenji KohanBruce Miller and Tracy Miller and directed by Gus Van Sant, are young actresses Nadia Alexander and Ismenia Mendes.

nadiaalexandermendesDescribed as a provocative period drama, The Devil You Know (working title) explores the circumstances around one of the most compelling chapters in American history — the infamous Salem Witch Trials in 17th century New England, where intolerance and repression set neighbor against neighbor and led a town to mass hysteria.

Izzard plays farmer Thomas Putnam, the conservative, rigid and devoutly Puritan patriarch of the powerful Putnam family. He is a leader in agrarian Salem Village, but his top position is being threatened from many sides.

Alexander plays another lead role, the bright and ambitious Ann Putnam Jr., who is unsure of her role as a woman in this world but determined to discover her place in it.

Mendes, a newcomer out of Juilliard, plays Mercy Lewis, a captured servant girl from Maine who must summon her inner resources.

Production on the pilot — a co-production between HBO and Lionsgate TV — is slated to take place in Boston in the spring.

Izzard, who also co-stars in Sony PlayStation’s comic book-based series Powers, is repped by APA. Mendes, who has been doing theater in New York, recently starring in Grand Concourse at Playwrights Horizon, is repped by Luber Roklin and UTA.