Chris Zylka (The Leftovers) and Taveeta Syzmanowicz (October Faction) are set for recurring roles opposite Willa Fitzgerald, Herizen Guardiola and Marlo Kelly on USA drama series Dare Me, from UCP and Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo’s Film 44.
Based on the novel by Megan Abbott, who serves as writer and executive producer along with Gina Fattore, Dare Me is described as an unflinching exploration of teen angst, jealousy, loyalty and the dynamics of power in a small Midwestern town.
Peering behind the all-American facade, Dare Me dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading. It follows the fraught relationship between two best friends (Guardiola and Kelly) after a new coach (Fitzgerald) arrives to bring their team to prominence. While the girls’ friendship is put to the test, their young lives are changed forever when a shocking crime rocks their quiet suburban world. Part coming-of-age story, part small-town drama, part murder mystery, Dare Me exposes the physical and psychological extremes that some young women are willing to endure in order to get ahead.
Zylka will play Cpl. Kurtz. Frat-boy handsome but with an aggressive edge, Kurtz is a Marine recruiter who serves under Sarge Will, an assignment he considers beneath him. He and Beth are drawn to the outlaw spirit in each other. But it’s a relationship that feels dangerous.
Syzmanowicz is RiRi. A vibrant and fun-loving member of the cheerleading squad, RiRi is often the pawn in Addy and Beth’s friendship drama. Saddled by a very ambitious mother who has huge dreams and high expectations for her, RiRi is anxious for freedom and eager to rise in her squad.
Previously announced cast include Willa Fitzgerald as Coach Colette French, Herizen Guardiola as Addy Hanlon and Marlo Kelly as Beth Cassidy. Additional series regulars include Rob Heaps and Paul Fitzgerald. Tammy Blanchard, Antonio J. Bell, and Alison Thornton are also set to recur.
Abbott, Berg, Lombardo, Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfeldt executive produce. Netflix will co-produce and have first-run rights to the series outside of the U.S.
Zylka, known for his role as Tom Garvey in The Leftovers, was a series regular in 10 Things I Hate About You. On the film side, he was most recently seen in Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan opposite Natalie Portman. He’s repped by Thor Bradwell at Thirty Three Management.
Syzmanowicz was regular on Canadian series The Next Step and recurred on Make It Pop. She recurs in Netflix’s upcoming sci-fi series October Faction and recently booked a role in the CW pilot Glamorous. She’s repped by David Dean Management and AMI Canada.