Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson), Aunjanue Ellis (Quantico) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Tale) have been tapped for major roles opposite Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jonathan Majors and Wunmi Mosaku in HBO’s high-profile straight-to-series drama Lovecraft Country, 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 by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black (Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. Thus 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.
Vance’s George Black, has always been more like a father to Atticus (Majors). Warm, funny, and well read, he was the first to introduce Atticus to the wonderful and strange world of pulp novels. As the publisher of the “Safe Negro Travel Guide” he’s been on enough adventures to understand there’s no place like home.
Ellis is Hippolyta Black, George’s wife, Atticus’s aunt, and a star gazer. She’s been a housewife most of her life with dreams of getting into some adventures of her own, despite her husband’s misgivings. Her itch for adventure will eventually, literally and figuratively, take her to the stars and beyond.
Debicki portrays Christina Braithwhite, the only daughter of Samuel Braithwhite, 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.
All three are considered lead characters though I hear that Ellis and Debicki are series regulars while Vance is a recurring. That would accommodate Vance’s recent casting as the co-lead opposite Mary-Louise Parker in FX comedy pilot Compliance.
Peele and Green executive produce Lovecraft Country, along with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson, David Knoller and Yann Demange, who directs the first episode.
Vance won an Emmy for his performance as Johnnie Cochran in FX’s American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. He is in post-production on feature Heist directed by Anthony Hemingway. Vance is repped by Gersh, Lighthouse Entertainment and Fox Rothschild.
Ellis will next be seen in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk alongside Regina King and indie feature Miss Virginia opposite Uza Aduba. Her TV credits include series regular roles on The Mentalist, High Incident, E-Ring, Justice and Quantico. Ellis is repped by ICM Partners and TMT Entertainment Group.
Debicki was most recently seen in Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, which premiered at January’s Sundance Film Festival. She’ll next co-star alongside Viola Davis, Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson in Steve McQueen’s Widows and recently completed production on Vita and Virginia. She also is attached to star in the he neo-noir thriller The Burnt Orange Heresy. Debicki is repped by CAA in the U.S. and United Management in Australia.