Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Connelly has been cast as a First Class passenger in Scott Derrickson's TV adaptation of Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer. The critically-acclaimed 2013 movie was a post-apocalyptic tale of class warfare and survival in an inhospitable, frozen world. Humanity had been reduced to the confines of a train that constantly circles the icy globe, with strict class-based systems quickly coming to dictate life aboard the Snowpiercer.
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson was confirmed to direct and co-produce the hour-long TV pilot based on the movie, with Hamilton actor Daveed Diggs attached to star as a prisoner at the tail-end of the train. Now Jennifer Connelly has been cast in a role that will explore life in First Class.
Deadline reports that Connelly has been cast as Melanie Cavill, a privileged individual who's intrigued by the lives of the lower classes. Brief details of her role were also revealed:
"Melanie Cavill, a First Class passenger who works as the Voice of the Train – responsible for making the daily announcements over its PA system. Though many in her VIP position are dismissive of the lower class passengers, Melanie is curiously fascinated by them."
The report also elaborated on Diggs's role, suggesting that he'll play a prisoner known as Layton Well, a "reluctant participant in a struggle that could upend life on the train". Revolutionary change - or at least the threat of it - is a staple of the dystopian genre, and both Melanie Cavill and Layton Well are bound to find their disparate lives changed as the unfair social system of the Snowpiercer threatens to grind to a halt.
Jennifer Connelly, who rose to prominence with a willful performance in The Labyrinth, hasn't appeared on TV since Fox's The $treet in 2000. The American actor is best known for her supporting roles in big-screen dramas like Blood Diamond and A Beautiful Mind - in which she scored the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also won both the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for that stellar performance. Connelly is no stranger to science fiction either, with James Cameron's long-gestating Alita: Battle Angel movie due to feature her among an A-list of female talent. The role is bound to require a blend of naivety and grit, as the privileged Melanie Cavill's curiosity begins to uncover what conditions are really like at the back of the train.
Dystopian science-fiction remains something of a hot property in Hollywood following the inordinate success of The Hunger Games saga, but the genre has begun migrating to TV as a slew of disappointing properties - Divergent, The 5thWave, etc. - has stagnated the movie market. Hulu is currently finding great success with an unflinching adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, an adult dystopian tale about the weaponization of gender. TNT will be hoping for the same sort of success with their futuristic depiction of class warfare, and with the sort of talent already attached to the project, there's nothing to stop this train from ploughing straight on through to success.
We'll keep you updated with anymore Snowpiercer news as it rolls in.