When CBS Friday announced a series order for Silence of the Lambs sequel Clarice starring Rebecca Breeds, the announcement included three key new cast members whose deals had closed after the coronavirus pandemic suspended all pilot production in mid-March, Kal Penn, Nick Sandow and Michael Cudlitz.
Designated Survivor and House alum Penn became available after NBC/Universal Television released the cast of Sunnyside. Penn co-created, executive produced and starred in the freshman comedy series, which has not been officially canceled by NBC. The producers of Clarice reached out to him, leading to discussions about the project and ultimately a deal for him to join it.
Written/executive produced by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman, Clarice is set in 1993, six months after the events of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. It tells the personal story of FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field to pursue serial murderers and sexual predators while navigating the high stakes political world of Washington, D.C.
“Like most people, I’m a huge Silence of the Lambs fan, so having the opportunity to join Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman on this project is very exciting,” Penn said. “All of our conversations about Clarice thus far are so grounded in art and storytelling. It’s suspense, it’s a thriller, and it’s thoughtful.”
As is the case with all Hollywood film and TV projects, there is no production start date set yet for Clarice but Penn plans to make the most of his time at home.
“I’m looking forward to a quarantine re-read of the Thomas Harris novel, and getting into production once we’re allowed to be around each other again,” he said.
Here are more details about the roles played by Penn, Sandow and Cudlitz who joined previously cast Breeds, Lucca De Oliveira and Devyn A. Tyler.
Penn plays Emin Grigoryan, an agent with a Ph.D. in library science. Emin is the conduit between the Fly Team and ViCAP’s growing database, as opposed to Clarice’s unique knowledge of Behavioral Sciences. A former curator for the Smithsonian, FBI is, for him, a second career. With expertise in all things archival — from insects, to ancient manuscripts, to missing children. Grigoryan makes the dryest patterns of forensic evidence feel like they came from Dante.
Cudlitz (The Kids Are Alright, The Walking Dead) plays Paul Krendler. Leader of the VICAP Fly Team. Paul grew up in the second-best house in the second-best neighborhood in Hershey, Penn. His father was an executive at Hershey Park. Paul hated ‘The Sweetest Place on Earth’ with a vehemence. A truly gifted investigator for the Department of Justice, with solid legal skills. Krendler is also wily and sensitive to the shifting political winds.
Sandow (Orange Is the New Black) plays Murray Clarke, Clarice’s chief hazer. A heavy smoker. A bit out of shape. Slow to move in the office, but one of your best friends in the field. Hailing from a law enforcement family, Clarke went to Holy Cross on a lacrosse scholarship and a ticket to the FBI. Never made it past field agent, never wanted to. Clarke may present as a knock-around guy, but his uncanny barometer for the truth puts him in a category all his own.
Clarice comes from MGM Television and CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout. Lumet executive produces with Secret Hideout’s Kurtzman and Heather Kadin.
Penn is repped by UTA, Industry Entertainment and attorney Fuller Law. Cudlitz is repped by APA, Anonymous Content, and Goodman Genow. Sandow is repped by Innovative, Gasparro Management and Cohen & Gardner.