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Casting clips: Mary J. Blige kills, Preacher adds four, and Descendant finds a star

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Feb 12, 2018

Between Mary J. Blige signing on to co-star in Umbrella Academy for Netflix, Tony Award winner Betty Buckley joining Preacher, and Orange Is The New Black's Taylor Schilling starring in a new supernatural thriller, some of your dramatic favorites will be showing up in new and interesting genre projects for film and television.

First up, THR is reporting that Mary J. Blige will be a series regular in Netflix's upcoming Umbrella Academy. The two-time Academy Award nominee and winner of nine Grammys joins the series as Cha-Cha who is described as a ruthless and unorthodox hitwoman who travels through time to kill assigned targets with a love for torture who only cares about the job and one person - her partner Hazel.

Umbrella Academy is based on the Eisner award-winning comics and graphic novels created and written by Gerard Way and published by Dark Horse Comics. It's being produced by Universal Cable Productions with Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) as executive producer and showrunner. Additional executive producers include Bluegrass Television and Dark Horse Entertainment with Gerard Way as co-executive producer.

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Season 3 of AMC's Preacher is adding four new recurring characters; Gran'ma, TC, Jody, and Christina.

Tony-winner Betty Buckley (SupergirlSplit) will be playing Gran'ma, who's Jesse's only living family and, like Jesse, has real powers which include casting spells and bringing people back the dead if you're willing to pay the price. 

Colin Cunningham (Blood DriveFalling Skies) is TC, Gran'ma's loyal caretaker and soldier. Bayou-born, TC seems friendly enough, but there's more than a few things about him that make it a good idea not to trust him too far.

Jody will be played by Jeremy Childs (The Last CastleNashville). Described as "massive and intimidating", Jody is Gran’ma's enforcer (and the only man Jesse’s never beaten in a fight). 

Rounding out the new additions is Liz McGeever (Star, Nashville) as Christina. Christina's job is to lure customers in for her family business and hates her job, but Christina has a child to protect, so that's her top priority.

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According to THR, Taylor Schilling is taking a break from Orange Is The New Black to star in Descendant, a thriller for MGM's newly relaunched Orion Pictures. You may remember Orion Pictures from some of your favorite genre movies back in the 80's.

Descendant is about a young mother who fears something supernatural may be the cause of her 8-year-old son’s disturbing behavior.

Tripp Vinson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) will produce Descendant, a screenplay by Jeff Buhler and directed by Nicholas McCarthy.

John Hegeman, who heads Orion says “Descendant is a unique and terrifying addition to the horror genre and we are looking forward to working with Nicholas, Tripp and Taylor in bringing Jeff’s script to life.".

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Finally, Deadline reports that Gossip Girl alum Jessica Szohr will be a series regular on The Orville when it returns for a second season later this year. Szohr will play a new crewmember, but we don't have any other information at this time.