The new Amazon series Utopia has found its first lead actor with Sasha Lane.
The show is based of a British series by Dennis Kelly, about a group of young adults who meet online and are mercilessly hunted by a deep state organization after they come to possess a near mythical cult underground graphic novel. Within the comic’s pages are conspiracy theories that may actually be real, and the group is forced into the dangerous, unique and ironic position of saving the world.
Lane will play Jessica Hyde, originally played by Fiona O’Shaughnessy for Britain’s Channel 4 series. The character is described as tough and feral after a life on the run from a mysterious and dangerous group. She believes all the answers about her perplexing life story maybe hidden in the graphic novel Utopia.
Amazon’s adaptation of the show is being written by Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn. Flynn states that as she was writing, Lane kept popping into her mind for Jessica, saying Sasha “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.”
Lane’s onscreen debut was in the 2016 film American Honey. Since then, she has been in Hearts Beat Loud and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. She will be seen next in the Hellboy reboot and Weetzie Bat.
The British series debuted in 2013 and aired for two six-episode seasons, praised for its style and visuals. However, it also raised concern over the violence shown on screen. Amazon ordered a nine-episode season in April.
Flynn became attached to Utopia in 2014 with David Fincher set to direct and executive produce when HBO was originally set to adapt. However, the production was stopped when Fincher and HBO were unable to come to terms on a budget.
The series is a co-production between Endemol Shine North America and Kudos, an Endemol Shine Group UK production studio, and Amazon Studies. Flynn will also serve as executive producer and showrunner with Dennis Kelly.