EXCLUSIVE: Coming off an Oscar win for Whiplash, JK Simmons will topline Image (2) starz__140115200407.jpg for post 664866Counterpart, a sci-fi thriller drama series for Starz from MRC, Anonymous Content and Gilbert Films. It was created and written by Justin Marks, writer of the upcoming Disney Jungle Book movie, with Oscar-nominated Imitation Game helmer Morten Tyldum set to direct the first two episodes.

tyldumThe size of the series order is TBD. We hear the intention is to pick up two seasons the way the premium cable network recently did with another MRC package, upcoming comedy Blunt Talk starring Patrick Stewart, created by Jonathan Ames and executive produced by Seth MacFarlane.

JustinMarksDescribed as an espionage thriller with a metaphysical twist, Counterpart tells the story of Howard Silk (Simmons), a lowly cog in a bureaucratic UN agency who is turning the last corner of a life filled with regret, when he discovers the agency he works for is guarding a secret: a crossing to a parallel dimension. Through Howard and his “Counterpart” on the other side, Prime, the show will navigate themes of identity, idealism, what ifs, and lost love.

Counterpart was developed by Gilbert Films, which then sold the project to MRC, with True Detective producer Anonymous Content subsequently coming on board. Simmons, Tyldum and Marks executive produce the series with Anonymous’ Keith Redmon & Bard Dorros Gilbert Films’ Jordan Horowitz & Gary Gilbert.

MRC LogoThis marks the third collaboration between Starz and MRC following Blunt Talk and another upcoming series, drama The One Percent, from Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

Tyldum’s next feature is Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence. He is repped by WME and Anonymous. Marks is repped by CAA, Madhouse Entertainment and attorneys Stephen Clark and Melissa Rogal.

Simmons, repped by Gersh, has completed production on The Accountant, he is currently filming The Meddler and will be seen in The Terminator this summer.  He also has been cast in the feature The Lake.