EXCLUSIVE: Larisa Oleynik, best known for playing the title role in Nickelodeon classic The Secret World of Alex Mack, has been cast in the lead role in Half Life, a TV comedy created by rookie showrunner Patty Carey and backed by New York City.
Oleynik also appeared in the film 10 Things I Hate About You and, more recently, played Ken Cosgrove’s wife, Cynthia, on Mad Men. In Half Life, she will star as Patty, a working mom trying to realize her dream of becoming a screenwriter while balancing the demands of her family and her day job as a location manager. Nancy Giles (China Beach) also is joining the cast.
Carey, Jamie Zelermyer — formerly of Focus Features — and Jonathan Wacks are executive producing the comedy, whose pilot episode won the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment #GreenLightHer pilot competition.
The pilot episode and first season were shot by three female directors of photography and two female directors. Those positions were filled as part of the city’s $2 million Greenlight Her initiative, which aims to improve the representation of women in key creative roles in the film and television industries.
Half Life is in production (in the city, naturally), with four new episodes scheduled to air in January on NYC Life, which reaches more than 7 million households.
The show was among two finalists selected last winter as some 300 script submissions were then winnowed down to a batch of produced pilots, New Yorkers cast their votes for Half-Life to get support from the city.