Last February, People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story rocketed onto the small screen with a gripping retelling of the infamous mid-90s murder trial. It landed Ryan Murphy a buzzy new franchise, made a star of Sterling K. Brown, and quickly catapulted into the upper echelon of true-crime television. It was hailed by both general audiences and critics alike, raking in a staggering 22 nominations and nine wins at the 2016 Emmys.
It came as no surprise, then, when FX renewed the anthology series for a third season before even airing the second. But before it turns an eye to the shocking 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, it will tackle the 2005 tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in season 2. The second installment is set to premiere sometime in 2018, but few details have yet to emerge. Now, it looks like Murphy has found his newest leading lady.
FX announced on Monday that Annette Bening has joined Katrina: American Crime Story. The veteran actress will play Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana during and after Katrina from 2004 to 2008. Her casting marks the first new addition to Katrina‘s team, as Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, and Cuba Gooding Jr. have all been been confirmed to return in undisclosed parts.
For Bening, it signals her first major television role in over a decade. She last graced the small screen in HBO TV movie Mrs. Harris, for which she was nominated for an Emmy, though she’s been busy with film in the interim. Over the last three decades, she’s nabbed Academy Award nominations for four titles: The Grifters (1990), American Beauty (1999), Being Julia (2004), and The Kids Are All Right (2010). After losing Oscars to Hillary Swank twice in two very tight races, her outstanding turn in Mike Mills’ 1970s-set dramedy 20th Century Women was largely overlooked at this year’s ceremony, despite rave reviews (the film’s screenplay earned a nom; her performance didn’t).
Now, it appears she’s following in the footsteps of A-listers like Viola Davis in the leap to television. Davis joined Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder after two tough Oscar losses of her own, and is now heading into the 2017 ceremony as the presumptive winner in the best actress category for Fences. Murphy, for his part, has built a reputation for boosting star power. In November, Kathy Bates told Vanity Fair he had “resurrected” her career, and the same could be said for Paulson and American Horror Story alum Jessica Lange. Perhaps Bening’s American Crime Story role will finally land her the major awards recognition she deserves. In the meantime, those Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA statuettes will have to keep her company.
Premiere dates for American Crime Story seasons 2 and 3 have not yet been announced, but Screen Rant will keep you updates as details become available.