HBO's science fiction series The Nevers, from the mind of Joss Whedon, has cast Outlander’s Laura Donnelly as its lead. The period drama revolves around Victorian women with strange abilities and the enemies they must face, and it will be the first time fans see Whedon tackle a historical setting on television.
Donnelly, who hails from Northern Ireland, will take on the role of Amalia True. Amalia is described as reckless, uninhibited and emotionally damaged - which is reminiscent of previous Whedon heroes. She's also considered a menace to the society of her time, but nevertheless devoted to her cause and perhaps a little too much to alcohol as well. While her addiction may be one of her flaws throughout the series, her passion will certainly be required when the cast deals with their world-changing mission.
Deadline reported the casting news along with the showrunner's glowing words about his leading lady. “Laura Donnelly has charisma, wisdom and an anarchic precision that not only captures Amalia but defines her,” Whedon stated. “She’s fierce and she’s funny – and I need both for the journey ahead.” Indeed, his work has often been acclaimed for its mix of epic, death-defying stakes and sarcastic, sardonic humor.
If the Buffy flashbacks weren't strong enough already, Whedon is bringing a few of its other writers along for the ride. Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon A Time) and Doug Petrie (American Horror Story, Daredevil) co-wrote the pilot with Whedon, who will also be directing it himself. Bernadette Caulfield, who just worked with HBO on Game of Thrones, will serve as executive producer along with the other three.
While the writer and director has been under fire before for sexism, especially given his leaked Wonder Woman script and other controversies, he has also been responsible for some of pop culture's most iconic female leads in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy. Hopefully, Amalia True can rise to ranks of Buffy Summers or Echo, and permeate through the zeitgeist like they did. If Donnelly's fiery yet level-headed performance as Jenny Fraser on Outlander is any indication, she's more than up to the task.
Not only has Donnelly been lighting up screens in the STARZ epic, she's also a successful stage actress, winning Best Actress at the Olivier Awards in 2018 for her role in the Sam Mendes-directed The Ferryman. She's also starred alongside Dominic West in The River, a role she later reprised on Broadway with Hugh Jackman as her costar. Audiences can also see her shine onscreen in the upcoming Tolkien film, starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins.
The Nevers is a straight-to-series order for HBO's 2019-2020 pilot season.