EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-winning director Daniel Sackheim has signed on as executive producer and director of HBO’s upcoming straight-to-series drama Lovecraft Country. Additionally, Abbey Lee has joined as a series regular in a recasting, and Jamie Chung and Jordan Patrick Smith are set for recurring roles on the high-profile project, from Misha Green, Oscar winner Jordan Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, and Warner Bros Television.
Penned by Green based on the 2016 novel from Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathyan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bel) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
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Lee will play Christina Braithwhite, the only daughter of the leader of a secret order calling themselves the “Sons of Adam,” she’s gone to great lengths to earn her father’s respect, to no avail. She’s going to pave her own path to power, and she’s going to use Atticus and his family to do it. She replaces Elizabeth Debicki, who was originally cast in the role.
Chung will play Ji-Ah, a seemingly naive nursing student who is thrust into active service when war breaks out, and a rash of soldier disappearances suggests she is more than what she seems.
Smith will portray William. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, he’s the perfect specimen for the Aryan race. He’s Christina’s henchmen, lover, bodyguard, spy, and anything else she needs him to be when she needs him to be it.
Lee, Chung and Smith join previously cast Majors, Smollett-Bell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vance, Wunmi Mosaku, Aunjanue Ellis and Jamie Harris.
Sackheim, Peele and Green executive produce, along with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson, Bill Carraro and Yann Demange, who directs the first episode.
The prolific Sackheim, Emmy winner for NYPD Blue, is known for his work as director on such series as Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, and Ozark, for which he received and Emmy nomination. He has served as executive produced and directed on such series as The Americans, Amazon’s Jack Ryan, True Detective and House. Other directorial credits include the new Apple series from M. Night Shyamalan, Servant, The First, The Leftovers, The Walking Dead, The Man in the High Castle and the original X-Files.
In addition to his TV work, Sackheim directed the Sony feature film The Glass House and produced The X-Files Movie: Fight the Future.
Lee, whose film credits include Neon Demon and SXSW film Elizabeth Harvest, was most recently seen in Gaspar Noe’s Lux Aeterna. The film premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Chung starred in the Fox Marvel drama series The Gifted and can be seen in the AIDS drama 1985, based on Yen Tan’s short. Smith starred in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and the BBC Australian co-production Banished.
Sackheim is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion and attorney Jared Levine. Lee is repped by UTA (US), Management 360 (US), United Management (Australia), Hamilton Hodell (UK) and Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman. Chung is repped by Gersh, 3 Arts and Morris Yorn. Smith is repped by UTA and Aran Michael Management.
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