Given the fan excitement for the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead and the premiere of the new spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, it may have slipped past you that Robert Kirkman has a new adaptation of one of his comics hitting the air in the not-too-distant future, one completely devoid of anything resembling a zombie apocalypse.
Back in 2013, Cinemax cut a deal with Kirkman for the rights to make an adaptation of his then-unpublished new horror series Outcast, as part of the move into original programming the network began in 2011. With HBO and Showtime and Starz all having success in the original content area, and wanting to move away from the image of a second-run outlet for movies and home of soft-core late night films, Cinemax would have some success with shows like Banshee, Strike Back, Femme Fatale and The Knick.
Outcast, in both comic and TV incarnations, takes a different route than Kirkman’s more famous series, and focuses on one Kyle Barnes, whose life has been darkened by the shadow of demonic possession since his childhood, and his attempt as an adult to get answers and put an end to the incursions of the damned into his world. The comic began publication in 2014, has 10 issues to date, and is actually trademarked as Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta, giving full billing to artist Paul Azaceta, whom fans may recognize from his work on Daredevil, B.P.R.D., Conan and Grounded. Reviews have been generally good, and Kirkman says he has a plan for the entire run of the series in a way that he hasn’t had before with series like The Walking Dead or Invincible.
So who is going to be coming to our screens in 2016, and hopefully bringing us a fresh perspective on the possession story? Taking the lead as Barnes is Patrick Fugit, known to a lot of moviegoers as William Miller in Almost Famous and Officer Gilpin in Gone Girl, as well as the cult-favorite Wristcutters: A Love Story. He’s joined by Life on Mars‘ Philip Glenister as Reverend Anderson, a West Virginia evangelist whose war against the forces of evil has cost him his marriage to Catherine Dent’s (The Shield) Janet, although she still loves him. Brent Spiner, or Data to a generation of Star Trek fans, has been cast as Sidney, a smiling, dapper new arrival to town, and seems set to be a villain of the story, with the word “malevolence” featuring in pretty much every studio reference to the character.
Gabriel Bateman (Stalker) plays Joshua, whose possession seems to be the trigger for the series’ events, and there is conflict of the more human nature between Barnes and his sister’s husband, a small-town cop played by David Denman, from The Office, The Replacements and Big Fish, among others. Twin Peaks fans will recognize the name Grace Zabriskie, who played Laura Palmer’s mother, and who plays Mildred, one of the parishioners at Reverend Anderson’s church, and Lee Tergesen of Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, and many more film and TV shows plays Blake Morrow, an ex-cop in prison for murdering his partner’s wife. Melinda McGraw of Mad Men, NCIS and The Dark Knight rounds out the current cast as Patricia MacCready, a single mom and another regular attendee of Reverend Anderson’s church.
Filming is currently underway in the South Carolina town of York, where the town of about 7000 people has been transformed into the series’ setting of Rome, West Virginia. Check out the trailer below: