Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love) and Scott Speedman (The Strangers) have been cast as leads in TNT’s drama pilot Animal Kingdom, from John Wells Prods. in association with Warner Horizon Television. The pilot, which is set to begin shooting next month in Los Angeles, centers on 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody who moves in with his wild, freewheeling relatives — grandmother (Barkin) and uncles — in their Southern California beach town when his mother ODs. He is pulled into their life of indulgence and excess and soon discovers that it’s all being funded by criminal activities.
Barkin plays Janine “Smurf ” Cody, a working-class mom with what appears to be a picket-fence lifestyle who is actually the boot-tough matriarch of an organized crime family and has enough authority to make even the most dangerous men tremble in her presence. Speedman plays Cody’s son and Josh’s uncle Barry “Baz” Brown. Adopted by the Cody family when he was 12, Baz now leads the group in their armed robberies, but he also thinks of breaking away from a life of crime.
An adaptation of the 2010 Australian feature, Animal Kingdom was written by Jonathan Lisco, with Wells directing the pilot. The two executive produce and showrun.
Barkin, who will next be seen in Hands of Stone opposite Robert De Niro, is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. Speedman is repped by UTA, Circle of Confusion and Gary Goddard Agency.