Casting for J.J. Abrams' latest TV pilot is accelerating. After scoring Lost veteran Jorge Garcia last week and Sarah Jones just yesterday, Jonny Coyne and Jason Butler Harner (pictured above) are the latest to join the cast of sci-fi-mystery show, Alcatraz.
Both actors have previous experience on Abrams-headed TV projects. Coyne was recently seen on NBC's Undercovers, and has previously had bit parts on the BBC's Merlin and the 2003 Tomb Raider sequel. Harner had a one-episode part on Fringe in 2009 and a small role in Clint Eastwood's well-received Changeling the year before that.
Both actors have made the rounds in one-off roles on network and cable TV for the last decade. The two are the first time travelers to be cast (assuming that's the series' premise) taking the roles of the lead warden and assistant warden, respectively.
Time travel would seem to be on tap; it would take some impressive writing by co-executive producer Elizabeth Sarnoff for anything different. The show focuses on a group of felons and staff from the world-famous prison who disappear sometime before its closing almost fifty years ago, only to re-appear in modern times. Jones and Garcia have been cast as members of the FBI team assigned to track down the displaced convicts.
Since both Coyne and Harner are taking lead roles, it's safe to assume that the former prison executives are helping the FBI in their task. Having two time-warped cast members should give the show some original dialogue, not to mention nostalgia-inducing social commentary - think Captain America or a more contemporary version of the one-liners from Back to the Future. Speaking of Changeling, the changes made in the prison systems - and indeed, what you can (and can't) get away with in society in general - would be ripe for some quality writing.
Filming for the first episode of Alcatraz will begin in January in San Francisco (presumably on location) and Vancouver. Fox has picked up the pilot, but the rest of the series has yet to be optioned. No time frame has been giver for when - or if - audiences can actually see the show, but with Abrams' powerhouse production company Bad Robot at the helm, it's a safe bet on late 2011 or early 2012. Here's hoping it does better than fellow Fox sci-fi show Fringe, which has been struggling lately.
Screen Rant will cover Alcatraz as it nears its pilot, and hopefully, first season.
Source: Deadline Hollywood