As with any other important event in American history, the terrorist attacks against New York City on September 11, 2001 have gone on to shape Hollywood — and overall popular culture — in many ways, both large and small. Multiple films have been made concerning the attacks, while multiple TV shows have addressed either the event or its aftermath in some way. 9/11 also had a retroactive effect on many classic films and TV shows, as anything shot in NYC after the World Trade Center’s original construction but prior to the attacks is likely to include a shot of the Twin Towers.
Despite all of the 9/11 references present in pop culture since the attacks, there has yet to be much dramatic focus on the events that preceded that fateful day. While there have been plenty of documentaries looking at 9/11 from every possible angle, most of the narrative takes have focused either on the attacks themselves, or the effect they had on American society afterward. That is set to change soon, via upcoming Hulu series The Looming Tower.
The Looming Tower was previously granted a 10-episode straight-to-series order by Hulu, although it’s unclear whether the series is intended for only a limited run or as a possible multi-season show. The drama is based on the 2006 non-fiction book of the same name by Lawrence Wright, which looked at the in-fighting between the FBI and CIA in the lead-up to 9/11. Deadline now reports that Jeff Daniels has signed on to play co-lead character John O’Neill, chief of the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit in NYC. O’Neill is convinced that Al-Qaeda plans to attack the U.S. homeland, and is frustrated by the lack of cooperation his counterpart at the CIA provides.
This will mark the seemingly always in-demand Daniels’ return to series TV, after his 3-season run as lead of HBO’s The Newsroom came to an end back in 2014. He joins the previously cast Tahar Rahim, who plays other co-lead character Ali Soufan, a young FBI agent who quickly impresses O’Neill and becomes his protege.
While the subject matter has the potential to cause controversy — real people are being portrayed after all, so it’s likely some won’t be happy with how they are represented on-screen — The Looming Tower could also very well serve to continue Hulu’s emergence as an original drama powerhouse, alongside previous hits 11/22/63, The Path, and the upcoming The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Looming Tower is expected to premiere sometime in 2017.