Molly Parker (“Lost in Space”) and Brian J. Smith (“Treadstone”) have been cast in upcoming Canadian ITV Studios drama “Essex County.”
Joining them as lead cast are Stephen McHattie (“October Faction”), Finlay Wojtak-Hissong (“Blood”) and Kevin Durand (“Pantheon”). Christina Piovesan, executive producer and CEO of First Generation Films unveiled the casting.
The five-episode series is based on Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel of the same name, which explores themes of loss, betrayal, trauma and redemption via two families living in a rural community. Lemire is also writing and showrunning the series, which is directed by Andrew Cividino (“Schitt’s Creek”).
Following the death of his mother, 11-year-old Lester (Wojtak-Hissong) moves in with his uncle Ken (Smith), a stoic farmer, who must raise Lester while coping with his own grief. Lester soon turns to Jimmy (Durand) as a surrogate father although Jimmy can barely look after himself. Meanwhile Anne (Parker) is struggling with caring for her estranged uncle Lou (McHattie) as well as empty nest syndrome while her daughter heads to university.
Through Lou and Lester the audience enter a world of magic realism as Lou’s present merges with his past while Lester escapes into his imagination in a bid to escape his grief.
Production wrapped in Ontario last month and the show will be launched at Mipcom next week by distributor ITV Studios and Media Musketeers Studios.
It is set to premiere on CBC and CBC Gem next winter.
“This emotionally powerful and imaginative story of loss and loneliness in rural Ontario speaks to our universal longing to better understand and connect with each other in our own families and communities, and we can’t wait to watch this exceptional cast bring Jeff’s characters and vision to life,” said Sally Catto, general manager for entertainment, factual and sports at CBC.
Julie Medal-Johnsen, EVP for global content at ITV Studios added: “It’s a real privilege to bring Jeff and Eilis’ deeply intimate, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story to audiences everywhere. We’re confident our buyers will appreciate how special and unique ‘Essex County’ is, there’s truly nothing else on the market like this.”
Chris Law, Managing Partner at Media Musketeers Studios, said: “Since first speaking to Christina Piovesan about Essex County, Media Musketeers Studios has wanted to help bring this beautiful story to screens around the world. We could not have found a more enthusiastic partner than ITVS, who immediately fell in love with the project and shared our vision as to its international appeal.”