The broadcaster is set to launch the four-part series, from Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment, this spring.
Chimerica, written by Kirkwood, examines the changing fortunes of the U.S. and China. Nivola plays the lead, an American photojournalist who tries to discover the truth behind the iconic, career-making image he took of a lone man defying the tanks that rolled into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Chimerica starts in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 as young American photojournalist captures a piece of history as tanks roll through Beijing and soldiers hammer on his hotel door. Twenty years later, he is covering a presidential election, marred by debate over cheap labor and the outsourcing of American jobs to Chinese factories. He subsequently becomes obsessed with a cryptic message left in a Chinese newspaper and journeys to discover who the man in the photo was.
Kirkwood executive produces the four-hour series alongside Playground Entertainment founder Callender, Sophie Gardiner and Adrian Sturges. Michael Keillor directs.
Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale) stars as Mel Kincaid, Lee’s old friend and colleague, fiercely intellectual and recently sober. Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) stars as Tessa Kendrick, a corporate-minded market analyst who crosses Lee’s path in China and at home in NYC. F. Murray Abraham (Homeland) stars as Lee’s long-time mentor, News Editor Frank Sams, and Terry Chen (Jessica Jones) is Zhang Lin, a friend from Lee’s time abroad in China. Young Lee Berger is played by Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World).