‘Alcatraz’ Fills Out Cast With Sam Neill, Robert Forster & Parminder Nagra

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 15th, 2010 at 11:15 pm,

jj abrams alcatraz tv show cast Alcatraz Fills Out Cast With Sam Neill, Robert Forster & Parminder Nagra

The pilot for J.J. Abrams’ FOX show Alcatraz is coming together quickly. Last week, three new actors and roles were announced, all of whom should at least ring a bell in the ear of TV fans. Sam Neill, recently of Showtime’s The Tudors, has been cast as a government boss. Petrelli family patriarch from Heroes, Robert Forster, will play a retired cop and bartender. And long-running ER star Parminder Nagra has been cast as lab technician – she should feel right at home in the white coat.

The trio join former Lost star Jorge Garcia, along with Sarah Jones, Jonny Coyne and  Jason Butler Harner. Alcatraz follows the story of a group of felons and personnel who disappeared before the prison’s close over 40 years ago, only to re-appear in modern times. Jones would seem to have the lead role as a member of an FBI team assigned to track the inmates down.  Garcia seems to be playing on his somewhat comedic role in Lost, since he’s cast as an expert on Alcatraz Island and a “hippie/geek.” Coyne and Harner are the time-displaced warden and assistant warden, respectively.

Neill is best known for his roles in Jurassic Park and The Hunt for Red October in the early 90s. His biggest role recently was in Legend of the Guardians, though recently he’s had more serious TV parts in The Tudors and Happy Town. In Alcatraz, he’ll play Emerson Hauser, the head of an as-yet unnamed government agency, though it’s a good bet that  he’ll be Jones’ boss. Robert Forster’s biggest role lately was villain Arthur Petrelli in Heroes, though he’s played various cops and father-figure types for over 30 years. His most notable role was a bail bondsman in Jackie Brown in 1997. He’ll be playing a retired detective and bar owner named Archer, presumably a sounding board for the investigating FBI team. According to Deadline Hollywood, Forster is still in negotiations for the role.

Parminder Nagra, another veteran talent, is best known for her role in 2002 girl-power soccer movie Bend It Like Beckham and a leading role on ER from 2003-2009. The latter may make her the highest-profile TV star to join Alcatraz yet. The doctor role probably helped her land the current part, where she plays a lab technician in Neill’s division.

The project is shaping up to be quite promising indeed. I’m a fan of both Neill and Nagra’s work, and I’m excited at the prospect of them both returning to regular TV roles. It should be noted that at the moment Alcatraz is only a pilot, but with Abrams’ and his production powerhouse Bad Robot behind it, there’s no reason to think it won’t be picked up for a full season. Filming begins next month.

Sources: Deadline Hollywood, /Film

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  1. Sam Neil was great in the miniseries The Triangle, and he is one of my favorite actors so I’ll be seeing this.

    • i loved triangle

      • The triangle was sooo bad

        • Nothing with Sam Neill in is bad.

          mind your words, He (Sam Neill) is always listening and his wrath is great.

          • LOL. I agree Sam, he is ALWAYS fun to watch and has been one of my favorites actors for years.

  2. Super hyped about this Sam Neil is the man (Jurassic Park i mean cmon that one of the best movies ever) and I get my boy Hurley back! well not really but it’ll be good to see Jorge Garcia back on tv (man i miss Lost)
    either way ill be watching the pilot “In JJ We Trust”

  3. I had no intention of watching this, but now I see Sam Neill is involved, So i will watch it.

    Best. Actor. Ever.

    • This had me interested in it from the time i finished the article, I like to think of it like this: having Sam Neil is just a huge bonus to this project. Robert Forster is usually pretty good too, been watching that guy for years.

    • Ditto. Sam Neill is worthy of worship.

  4. Its great to see that we as fans have so much in common and I know at times we can’t see eye 2 eye but it just shows how close we really all are when something like the casting of Sam Neil comes around and we find out that hey its not just me that loves this actor and holds him in high regard my peers do to i dont kinow about you guys but when i read all of our comments and were all on the same page (thought wise) i feel less alone in the world of movies and fandom its just good to know other ppl think like me (we)

  5. Jackie brown did not come out in 1987

    • Thanks for the spot Zac. The typo’s been corrected.

  6. JJ Abrams….check
    Time Traveling….check
    Bad Robot….check
    I really hope this show is good since there is absolutley nothing on TV currently. LOST spoiled me to where all TV is no longer intresting.

    • Hopefully Abrams will be able to bounce back after Undercovers. As a fan of the ambition of Lost and Fringe, I can’t wait to see where Alcatraz is headed.

  7. hm