Jason Katims has rounded out the series regular cast for his half-hour comedic drama Amazon pilot, based on the Israeli format On the Spectrum. Rick Glassman (A Futile and Stupid Gesture), Sue Ann Pien, Albert Rutecki, Sosie Bacon (Here and Now) and Chris Pang (Charlie’s Angels reboot) have been cast as leads in the projct which hails from Katims and his True Jack Productions, original series’ creators and producer yesStudios and Universal TV.
Written by Katims, the now-untitled pilot (fka On the Spectrum) is a coming-of-age comedic drama about three 20-something roommates on the autism spectrum, striving for the same things that we all desire: To get a job, keep a job, make friends, fall in love, and navigate a world that eludes them.
This has been a passion project for Katims, tackling a subject that’s personal for him. He has spoken publicly about having a son with Asperger’s, which inspired a storyline on Katims’ NBC series Parenthood. We hear all of the actors in the pilot who play characters on the autism spectrum are on the spectrum themselves.
Glassman is Jack, wildly intelligent and a brilliant computer programmer, but his brutal honesty, and complete lack of filter, often make him his own worst enemy. At his deepest level, he has this raw earnestness, but his inability to process, let alone display, emotion weighs heavily on the few relationships he’s been able to maintain.
Pien portrays Violet, a fountain of emotion, always displaying and verbally processing any and every feeling she has. Her greatest hope and desire is to be like everyone else her age: have a great job and a boyfriend. She feels like an outsider which makes it challenging for her to blend in completely.
Rutecki portrays Harrison. Eager and loving and quick to laugh, and if he had the wherewithal to be generous, he would be. But he’s not quite there. He’s very loyal, but has trouble interacting with society– partly because of his strong resistance to leaving his apartment, and partly because he just doesn’t understand the rules.
Bacon plays Mandy. She’s funny, winning and has an instinctual kind of empathy for this trio that she has been hired to help guide toward independent living as their therapeutic aide. She struggles to figure out her own future which seems to always get overlooked because she is constantly putting out fires for the roommates.
Pang is Van, Violet’s salt-of-the-earth older brother. He’s brash, but would give anything and does everything he can for his sister, somehow trying to balance his role as her sole guardian with the life of a single 29-year-old.
Said Katims: “Rick, Sue Ann, and Albert are extraordinary actors who breathe such life into this story by bringing humor, heart and uncompromising honesty to their characters. My goal is for this show to live inside the experience of what it means to be on the autism spectrum, rather than take an outsider’s view, and I believe that by casting authentically we have taken a huge step in the right direction.”
Actor and comedian Glassman can currently be seen in Netflix & National Lampoon’s biopic, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, starring as Harold Ramis. Previously, he was a series regular on the NBC comedy series Undateable, which spawned the award winning digital series The Sixth Lead, which Glassman wrote, directed and starred in. Glassman is represented by CAA, Artists First and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
Pien began acting as a child as a creative outlet for her Autism Spectrum diagnosis. Perhaps best known for her candidacy for the “Mars One” initiative, she most recently appeared on the Daily Show. Pien is repped by
Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin and Scott Vandiver of Spotlight Management.
Rutecki studied drama at Hofstra University and appeared in the web series Aged Fruit (Fiorillo Productions) and understudied at the Manhattan Repertory Theater. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome the summer before eighth grade and is excited to portray characters on the autism spectrum authentically. Rutecki is represented by Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates Talent Agency.
Bacon was last seen as the lead in Alan Ball’s HBO series, Here and Now, starring opposite Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. She will next be seen recurring in Netflix’s Narcos and also recurs as Skye Miller in 13 Reasons Why. On the big screen, Bacon will next be seen in Mary Harron’s film, Charlie Says, opposite Matt Smith and Suki Waterhouse and she just wrapped production on the independent feature, WYRM. Bacon is the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. She’s repped by MGMT, The Kohner Agency, and James Adams at Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.
Pang most recently wrapped Sony’s reboot of the Charlie’s Angels franchise opposite Kristen Stewart and directed by Liz Banks and Mark Barbakow’s Palm Springs opposite Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. He was last seen as a lead of Warner Bros breakout hit Crazy Rich Asians directed by John Chu. Pang is repped by UTA, Active Artists Management, Stride Management and attorney Ryan LeVine at Jackoway Austen Tyerman.