HBO has set its lead cast as production begins on The Plot Against America, its six-part miniseries based on the 2004 novel by the late Philip Roth. Stranger Things‘ Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Morgan Spector (Homeland), Anthony Boyle (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Azhy Robertson (Untitled Noah Baumbach Project), newcomer Caleb Malis and John Turturro (The Night Of) star in the mini, which hails from Annapurna Pictures and Joe Roth.
Written and executive produced by frequent collaborators David Simon and Ed Burns, The Plot Against America imagines an alternate American history told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey as they watch the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist who becomes president and turns the nation toward fascism.
Kazan is Elizabeth “Bess” Levin, an insightful mother and homemaker, fears for the future as she tries to protect her family from the escalating political climate and plan a possible escape for the forces that seem to be threatening her world.
Ryder portrays Evelyn Finkel. The older sister to Bess, Evelyn is unmarried, her plans arrested by 10 years of caring for her infirm mother, and is hungry to find her own place in life. The sudden attentions of a key Lindbergh supporter — the politically ascendant Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf — are exhilarating and transformational for her.
Spector will play Herman Levin, the proud and opinionated father, works as an insurance agent and tries to maintain normalcy in the life of his family and friends even as his country seems to be slipping into fascism, anti-Semitism and xenophobic isolationism.
Boyle is Alvin Levin, the angry and intelligent orphaned nephew to Herman, allows political differences with his family, personal grudges and resentments, and his own abhorrence of hypocrisy and cant to drive him from street crime to the battlefields of Europe and back.
Robertson portrays Philip Levin, the youngest of the Levin family, copes with his own innocent curiosity and growing anxiety in a world that seems to be collapsing around him, both at home and in the streets.
Malis is Sandy Levin, the Levin’s artistic teenage son, rebels against his family and his father in particular as his adolescence becomes entangled with his growing admiration for Lindbergh — a stance encouraged by his beloved Aunt Evelyn’s guidance.
Turturro portrays Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf, a conservative rabbi and a transplant from Charleston, S.C. where he gained his first synagogue pulpit and became a widower with the death of his affluent wife, seizes the reins of history to become a key figure in the emergent Lindbergh administration — despite growing opposition within the Jewish community as a whole.
Executive producing with Simon and Burns are Joe Roth and producing partner Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, another long-time Simon collaborator, Nina K. Noble, Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle and Susan Goldberg. Dennis Stratton and Philip Roth are co-executive producers.
Oscar-nominated Ryder stars as Joyce Byers in Netflix hit series Stranger Things, which premieres its third season on July 4. She most recently stared in Destination Wedding opposite Keanu Reeves.
Kazan was most recent seen in the Oscar-nominated Coen Brothers’ western, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and on television in HBO drama series, The Deuce, alongside James Franco.
Spector will next be seen starring as Mayor Bobby Novack in the upcoming Suits spinoff Pearson and can currently be seen opposite Olivia Wilde in A Vigilante.
Boyle won the Olivier Award for best supporting actor for his breakout performance in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II. Upcoming, Boyle will be seen in the J.R.R. Tolkien biopic Tolkien, directed by Dome Karukoski. His other recent TV works includes BBC1’s Ordeal by Innocence, BBC3’s Come Home and the first installment of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.
Robertson recently wrapped the Amblin film Larry opposite Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr., which will be released later this year. He’ll also be seen in Netflix’s
Untitled Noah Baumbach Project and Bart Freundlich’s After the Wedding.
Malis is making his TV debut in The Plot Against America. He’s currently enrolled in the Integrated Arts program at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA).
Turturro currently co-stars with Julianne Moore in Sebastian Lelio’s Gloria Bell. He also leads an international cast in The Name Of The Rose, the upcoming television adaptation of Umberto Eco’s novel, a limited series for Sundance TV.
Ryder is represented by Gersh, Anonymous Content, Howard Fishman, ID. Kazan is with UTA, Washington Square Films, Relevant, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Spector is represented by Innovative Artists and Untitled Entertainment. Boyle is with Hamilton Hodell and UTA. Robertson is represented by CESD, Nani/Saperstein Management, and Nelson Davis LLP. Malis is represented by Clear Talent Group, The Kohl Group and Myman Abell Fineman Fox Greenspan Light. Turturro is represented by ICM Partners and George Sheanshang.