‘Utopia,’ John Cusack and Sasha Lane to Star in Amazon Series

John Cusack joins the cast of Amazon’s upcoming series ‘Utopia.’ Sasha Lane and Rainn Wilson also play lead roles in this remake of British drama of the same name. Cusack plays the role of Dr. Kevin Christie in the series. ‘Utopia’ is adapted from the original by Gillian Flynn, who is known for ‘Gone Girl.’ Flynn also serves as the executive producer and showrunner.

According to a Deadline report, ‘Utopia’ follows a group of youngsters who form an online brotherhood of like-minded people. But the group members come into possession of a mysterious, cult underground novel known as ‘The Utopia Experiments.’ They decipher a deadly scheme to dominate the world from the cryptic content of the book. When a shadowy organisation known as the Network, starts hunting down the group members one-by-one, things take a darker turn. They realize the horrible reality of the two survival options available for the group members, either to hide their heads from the assassins or shoulder the immense responsibility of saving the world.

Cusack’s Dr. Kevin Christie is an enigmatic scientist who wants to change the world through science. ‘Utopia’ marks Cusack’s first foray into television with a recurring role in a series. He joins the cast that includes Sasha Lane, Rainn Wilson, Ashleigh LaThrop, Desmin Borges, Farrah Mackenzie, Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, and Christopher Denham.

Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton plays Grant, one of the members of the group. Grant embarks on a dangerous mission to discover the dark secrets hidden behind Utopia when the group members become prey to the organizations’ wrath. Oliver Woollford played Grant in the original series. Sasha Lane plays the role of Jessica Hyde, who is on the run from the mysterious organization. Both Grant and Jessica realize all the unanswered questions lead to the secretive graphic novel ‘Utopia,’ where all the answers are hidden. And they are not the only ones chasing the answers hidden in the manuscript.

‘As I’ve been writing Utopia and trying to imagine the actor who could possibly embody Jessica Hyde, Sasha Lane has constantly kicked her way into my mind,’ Flynn quoted as saying in a Deadline report. ‘She has the shape-shifting ability to feel at once raw, unpredictable and a little unnerving while also making you want to wrap your arms around her. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her play this utterly unique character,’ he added.

Fiona O’Shaughnessy played the role of Jessica Hyde in the original series. The British version of ‘Utopia’ is created by Dennis Kelly in 2013. Endemol Shine Group’s UK production arm Kudos produced the show for Channel 4. ‘Utopia’ premiered on the network in 2013 and ran for two successful seasons. It was hailed for the style of making and power-packed performances while inviting criticism for the violence depicted, which included a bloody shootout in a school.

Amazon’s take on ‘Utopia’ is a co-production venture between Endemol/Shine North America, Kudos, and Amazon Studios. Earlier, David Fincher locked a deal with HBO to make the American version of the series. The ‘Gone Girl’ director wanted to remake ‘Utopia’ along with some other projects as a part of the deal. But David Fincher and HBO abandoned the deal after some budgetary issues. Then Amazon Studios turned up to join hands with the ‘Gone Girl’ writer Gillian Flynn as the writer and developer of the new show.

Jessica Rhoades, Sharon Hall, Karen Wilson, and Dennis Kelly executive produce the series along with Flynn. Sharon Levy, who is the President of Unscripted & Scripted Television of Endemol Shine North America, oversees the production on behalf of Endemol Shine.