EXCLUSIVE: Meet Joss Whedon’s next leading lady. Laura Donnelly (Outlander) is set as the lead in The Nevers, HBO’s straight-to-series drama from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and The Avengers writer/director.
Co-written by Whedon and Buffy alums Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie and directed by Whedon, The Nevers is an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.
UK actress Donnelly will play Amalia True, the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink.
“Laura Donnelly has charisma, wisdom and an anarchic precision that not only captures Amalia but defines her,” said Whedon. “She’s fierce and she’s funny – and I need both for the journey ahead.”
Whedon, who serves as showrunner, executive produces with Espenson, Petrie and Bernie Caulfield.
Whedon is known for creating TV series with strong female protagonists, including Buffy the Vampire Slayers, headlined by Sarah Michelle Gellar and the cult sci-fi drama Dollhouse starring Eliza Dushku.
Donnelly, who hails from Northern Ireland, is probably best known in the U.S. for her recurring role as Jenny Fraser in Starz’s Outlander. Her series credits also include Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, Britannia and Missing.
She is an accomplished stage actress who won the Best Actress award at the 2018 Olivier Awards for her portrayal of Caitlin in Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes. Donnelly also starred in Butterworth’s play, The River at the Royal Court Theatre, alongside Dominic West, and reprised her role in the Broadway production alongside Hugh Jackman.
Donnelly, who will next be seen in a starring role in the Fox Searchlight feature Tolkien alongside Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins, is repped by Jonathan Arun in the UK and CAA in the U.S. and attorney Shelby Weiser.