EXCLUSIVE: David Strathairn is in negotiations for the lead in SyFy’s action-adventure 90-minute pilot Alphas, directed by Jack Bender. Additionally, Ryan Cartwright is set to co-star in the pilot, from BermanBraun and writers Zak Penn and Michael Karnow. Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens possessing extraordinary and unusual mental skills who take the law into their own hands and uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. ICM-repped Strathairn would play the overseer/team leader/prescribing doctor and all around mother hen to the team: an eccentric, absent-minded professor at times, who is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives. Cartwright will play a member of the team who has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. His Alpha ability allows him to “read” wireless transmissions passing through the ether – e-mails, cell phone communications, television signals, etc.Alphas has had a long road to filming a pilot. In its original incarnation as Section 8, the drama was taken to NBC 3 years ago through BermanBraun’s first-look deal there. After the network passed, the project sparked bidding among the other broadcast networks in summer 2007, landing at ABC with a six-episode production order for a possible midseason launch behind Lost. The show was in preproduction, with writing on the first episode under way, when the WGA strike brought work to a halt. After the strike, ABC’s plans for the show had to be altered. That and creative differences over the show’s sci-fi elements, which ABC was uncomfortable with, led to ABC eventually dropping the project. It was then pitched to Syfy, which, after some redevelopment, ordered it to pilot last summer. Oscar nominee Strathairn most recently co-starred in the ABC pilot Matadors, while Cartwright recurred on Mad Men and Bones.