UPDATED: Rob Heaps (Imposters), Zach Roerig (The Vampire Diaries) and Paul Fitzgerald (Veep, GLOW) are set as series regulars opposite Willa Fitzgerald, Herizen Guardiola and Marlo Kelly in the USA Network pilot Dare Me, from Universal Cable Productions and Film 44. In addition, Joyful Drake (Let’s Stay Together), Tammy Blanchard (Tallulah, Into The Woods), Antonio J. Bell (Nigerian Prince), Alison Thornton (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) and Tamberla Perry (APB) round out the cast in recurring roles.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Megan Abbott, who serves as writer and executive producer along with Gina Fattore, Dare Me is an unflinching exploration of volatile female friendships, jealousy, loyalty and the dynamics of power in a small Midwestern town. Peering behind the all-American façade, the series dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading, following the fraught relationship between two best friends (Guardiola, Kelly) after a new coach (Fitzgerald) arrives to bring their team to prominence. Part coming-of-age story, part small-town drama, part murder mystery, Dare Me exposes the physical and psychological extremes that some young women are willing to endure in order to get ahead.
Heaps will play Matt French, the hardworking husband of cheerleading coach Colette French (Willa Fitzgerald). After some hard times, his new job working for Burt Cassidy (Paul Fitzgerald) moves his family to Sutton Grove and offers the promise of the tide changing, at least as far as he knows.
Roerig will portray Sarge Will Mosley, the head Marine recruiter stationed in Sutton Grove High School. Although strikingly handsome and intriguingly remote, he’s a haunted man, hiding secrets and a complicated personal history.
Paul Fitzgerald’s Bert Cassidy is a Sutton Grove real estate developer, father of two cheerleaders on the squad, and the number-one cheer booster. A consummate wheeler-dealer, Burt has big plans for both the squad and the town, and intends to see them through, by any means at his disposal.
Drake is Faith Hanlon, Addy’s (Guardiola) grounded and very loving single mother. A hardworking police officer in Sutton Grove, Faith wants her daughter to thrive but is wary of her getting her hopes up. Blanchard is Lana Cassidy, Beth’s (Kelly) world-weary, former beauty queen mother, who spends most of her days in a palatial and lonely McMansion, numbing herself with prescription pills and leaving her daughter to raise herself. Bell will play Michael Slocum. Addy’s friend and neighbor. He dreams of a college football scholarship and a future beyond Sutton Grove, but the Marine recruiters stationed in his school may be his only ticket out. Thornton will portray Tacy Cassidy, a freshman member of Sutton Grove’s dazzling cheerleading squad who’s eager to step out of the shadows and secure a spot at the top of the pyramid. Perry will play J.J. Curtis.
Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo of Film 44 executive produce along with Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfelt.
Imposters alum Heaps recently wrapped filming a supporting role on Lydia Dean Pilcher’s Miss Atkins’ Army. He’s repped by Gersh and AHA Talent.
Roerig, known for his role as Matt Donovan on The Vampire Diaries, recently shot a recurring role on The Gifted and wrapped independent feature The Last Full Measure. He’s repped by Innovative Artists and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer.
Fitzgerald’s recent credits include Glow, Veep and Younger, along with recurring roles in Rectify and The Americans. Fitzgerald is repped by Industry Entertainment, SMS and Leading Artists.
Drake starred in comedy series Let’s Stay Together, produced by Queen Latifah. Her film credits include starring roles in November Rule and Catch Hell. She’s repped by More-Medavoy Management and Abrams Artist Agency.
Tony-nominated Blanchard most recently co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in Broadway’s The Iceman Cometh. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for her portrayal of young Judy Garland in Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows. Her other credits include features Tallulah and Into the Woods and TV series Hoke and The Big C among others. Blanchard is repped by Gersh and Soffer/Namoff Entertainment.
Bell is best known as the lead Eze in Tribeca Film Fest pic Nigerian Prince. His previous TV credits include a recurring role on OWN’s Greenleaf, Life of the Party and Blood Money. He’s repped by Rothman Andrés Entertainment, People Store and Morris Yorn.
Thornton recurs on Bravo’s Girfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Her other credits include a recurring role on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Colour of Rain and TV movie Let It Snow. She’s repped by Red Management and Industry Entertainment.
Perry was a series regular on Fox’s A.P.B. She most recently appeared in a major arc on Amazon’s Bosch and also recurs on How To Get Away With Murder. She previously recurred on Netflix’s The Jamz and guest-starred on Madam Secretary, Crisis and Boss. She’s repped by Authentic Talent and Literary Management and Stewart Talent Agency.