The Good Fight star Christine Baranski, Sex and the City alumna Cynthia Nixon, Amanda Peet (The Romanoffs) and Morgan Spector (The Plot Against America) will lead the cast of Julian Fellowes’ The Gilded Age drama series at HBO. The project, which moved from NBC to HBO earlier this year, is a co-production between HBO and Universal TV. The fictional epic of the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s hails from the Downton Abbey team of Fellowes, producer Gareth Neame and director Michael Engler.
Emmy winner Baranski will have the rare distinction of playing leads in two premium scripted series at the same time. She continues as the star of CBS All Access’ The Good Fight, which has been renewed for a fourth season. The schedules have been worked out so she can do both series.
Nixon, making her return to HBO 15 years after the end of Sex and the City, also has another premium drama series as part of the cast of Netflix’s upcoming Ratched. Meanwhile, Spector is a series regular on the USA Suits spinoff, Pearson, which is heavily on the bubble for renewal.
Created, written and executive produced by Fellowes, The Gilded Age centers on a period of immense economic change in America, of huge fortunes made and lost, and the rise of disparity between old money and new. Against this backdrop of change, the story begins in 1882 – introducing young Marian Brook, the orphaned daughter of a Southern general, who moves into the home of her rigidly conventional aunts in New York City. Accompanied by the mysterious Peggy Scott, an African-American woman masquerading as her maid, Marian gets caught up in the dazzling lives of her stupendously rich neighbors, led by a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife struggling for acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set. Will Marian follow the established rules of society, or forge her own path in this exciting new world that is on the brink of transformation into the modern age?
Baranski will play Agnes van Rhijn. Agnes is a proud and stubborn aristocrat who will never accept that the world has changed, and that ancient values are being replaced by new ones. She found herself penniless as her parents’ plantation was foundering, even before the war, but she managed to catch a husband just in time. Agnes has a son named Oscar, whom she worships, but her worship is not returned.
Nixon will portray Ada Brook. Ada is another victim of the collapse of the old south, but unlike her sister Agnes, she never found a way to get out until it was too late, and she was forced back on her sister’s charity. She is not naturally confrontational, but she is capable of standing up for what she believes.
Peet will play Bertha Russell. Bertha comes from the ordinary middle-class. She backed her instincts when she set out to catch her husband George, the son of a merchant family who has proved to be a financial genius. She is determined to use her money and position to break into a society that resists change at every turn.
Spector will portray George Russell. A classic robber baron of his own time, Russell is pleasant enough in company. He’s fond of his wife and his children, but utterly ruthless in business. He has already acquired millions, and billions will follow. In every challenge, George must win.
Baranski, who has received 15 career Emmy nominations to date, received six of her Emmy nominations and two Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations for her starring role on CBS’ The Good Wife. She currently stars as the character in the spinoff The Good Fight on CBS All Access. Baranski is repped by UTA and Viking Entertainment
Nixon is best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s Sex and the City, for which she received the first of her two Emmy awards. She next co-stars in Ryan Murphy’s Ratched opposite Sarah Paulson. On the big screen, Nixon can be seen in Stray Dolls, Sonejuhi Sinha’s feature debut, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be released domestically by Samuel Goldwyn Films in 2020. Nixon is repped by UTA and Brookside Artist Management
Peet was most recently seen in The Romanoffs and Brockmire. She is currently in production on season 2 of USA network’s anthology series Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story. Peet is repped by The Gersh Agency, Management 360 and attorney Gretchen Rush
Spector will next be seen starring as Herman Levin in David Simon’s HBO miniseries The Plot Against America, opposite John Turturro, Zoe Kazan and Winona Ryder. He most recently starred as Mayor Bobby Novak in the Suits spinoff series Pearson for USA Network, and he can currently be seen opposite Olivia Wilde in the feature film, A Vigilante. Spector is repped by Innovative Artists and Untitled Entertainment