Sarah SnookHere is the first major discovery of 2014 pilot season. Young Australian actress Sarah Snook has been cast in the title role of ABC‘s drama pilot Clementine, from the Mark Gordon Co. and ABC Studios. Written by feature scribe Dean Georgaris, Clementine centers on troubled 28-year-old psychic Clementine Ross (Snook) who sees her life begin to change in unexpected ways when she decides to stop running from her past. David Strathairn was recently cast as her father. Mark Gordon Co.’s Gordon and Nicholas Pepper exec produce with Ilene Staple.

abclogoThis marks the first U.S. TV role for Snook, who had been on the radar of the Clementine producers for a while, since before the script was picked up to pilot. I hear she was suggested by the project’s casting director, Tricia Wood, who is a friend of Georgaris. Snook recently flew to Los Angeles for her first U.S. pilot season, and Clementine was her very first screen test. She was not the first or only young actress the Clementine producers saw — they had been pitched dozens of actresses and had literally scoured the earth, auditioning women from the U.S., England, South Africa, Israel, New York, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. But I hear Snook blew them away and won the role in the room.

A trained actress — she has earned awards for her film and TV work in Australia — Snook is being compared to Jennifer Lawrence and young Jodie Foster and Cate Blanchett, her persona described as tough but warm, modern and beautiful. This year, Snook also will make her Hollywood feature debut as another title character, the lead in Lionsgate/Blumhouse’s horror film Jessabelle. Snook, repped by UTA, Principato-Young and  Australia by Shanahan Management, made her film debut in 2010’s Sleeping Beauty, followed by Not Suitable For Children with Ryan Kwanten and Predestination with Ethan Hawke.