Ordinary citizens, extraordinary skills. That's what the pilot for Syfy's Alphas promises to deliver. But with today's announcements of two new cast members, it's clear that the acting skills will be extraordinary, too.
Here's Syfy's official announcement:
MALIK YOBA AND LAURA MENNELL JOIN THE CAST OF SYFY'S ALPHAS
Yoba Portrays the Fiery Bill Harken and Mennell Portrays the Seductive Nina Theroux in 90-Minute Pilot Directed by Lost's Jack Bender and Starring Acclaimed Actor David Strathairn
New York, New York - July 29, 2010 - Syfy has announced additional casting for its previously announced pilot Alphas, inking actors Malik Yoba and Laura Mennell to co-star in the wry action-adventure project from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project. Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun Television and will be directed by Jack Bender (director and executive producer of Lost). It is slated to commence production next month in Toronto.
Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
Yoba plays Alphas team member Bill Harken, a former FBI agent from working class roots. Harken's Alpha skill allows him to intentionally activate a "fight-or-flight mechanism" producing a power surge of adrenaline giving him increased strength, speed and immunity from pain.
Mennell plays the complicated Alpha team member Nina Theroux. Seductive, intelligent and confident, Nina's Alpha ability allows her to influence people into doing whatever she wishes but her power can sometimes spin out of control. Her skill also comes with a personal drawback in that she can never be sure if anyone's feelings for her are real. Nina was the first team member enlisted by Dr. Rosen to whom she remains extremely loyal.
"Malik and Laura are perfect additions to an already impressive ensemble cast. They both have great intensity and charisma," said Stern. "We look forward to seeing them breathe life into the complex characters of Harken and Nina."
Malik Yoba is well known for his co-starring role as NYPD detective J.C. Williams on the popular police drama New York Undercover from 1994 to 1998, and has also appeared in the feature films Why Did I Get Married? (2007), Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010), Cool Runnings (1993) and Criminal (2004). He has made numerous television appearances including on the series Arrested Development as Ice, a bounty hunter whose real love is party planning, and the recurring character Brock Harris on the sitcom Girlfriends. Yoba also appeared in the crime drama Thief and the NBC crime drama Raines, and portrayed astronaut Ted Shaw on the futuristic drama Defying Gravity.
Malik Yoba is represented by Kieran Maguire of The Arlook Group and Steve Muller at Innovative Artists.
Laura Mennell is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Janey Slater in the feature film Watchmen, Lily Mercy in television movie Montana Sky (2007) and the Emmy nominated television movie Flight 93 (2006), which chronicled the events aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
Laura Mennell is represented by Vicki Petronio-King for Play Management Inc.
Leading the cast will be critically lauded actor David Strathairn, who earned rave reviews and received Best Actor Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Edward R. Murrow in the film Good Night, and Good Luck. Strathairn plays the unconventional, eccentric Alphas team leader Dr. Lee Rosen. Though he comes across as somewhat of an absent-minded professor at times, he is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives and in support of his Team.
BermanBraun is an independent media company whose three divisions -- television, feature film and digital media -- create and exploit entertainment content and advertising solutions throughout the world. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, founded by principals Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun in January 2007, has separate strategic global alliances with NBC and Microsoft to create and distribute creative content across all platforms. In February 2009, BermanBraun launched WONDERWALL -- the primary celebrity destination on the MSN Network, ranking ahead of TMZ.com and People.com in traffic, with number one user engagement in the celebrity news space. In April 2010, partners BermanBraun, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. (HFM U.S.) and MSN launched GLO, a lifestyle destination site. BermanBraun is currently producing THE CAPE for NBC's 2010/2011 television season. They are also producing DECODED for the History Channel for Fall 2010. BermanBraun also produces SWORDS for The Discovery Channel and IS SHE REALLY GOING OUT WITH HIM? on MTV.
About Universal Cable Productions
Universal Cable Productions creates quality content across multiple media platforms for USA, Syfy and other networks. A leader in innovative and critically acclaimed programming, UCP is the studio behind USA's Royal Pains, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Psych, In Plain Sight, Covert Affairs and Facing Kate, along with Syfy's Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Caprica. The studio also produced both long-running series Monk and Battlestar Galactica. UCP is a division of NBC Universal.
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 95 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)
So what do you think of Alphas now?