Sean Penn is set to debut as a TV series regular for the first time in his lengthy and distinguished career. The two-time Oscar winner (Milk, Mystic River) been tapped to star in House of Cards creator Beau Willimon’s space drama The First, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Hulu series is set in the near future and explores the first human mission to Mars and interplanetary colonization. It has received an eight-episode order and is planned to premiere on the streaming service in 2018.
“It’s a story about the human spirit,” Willimon said when the series was first announced. “About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons. About people working toward the greatest pioneering achievement in human history. And about the cost of that vision, the danger and sacrifice — emotional, psychological and physical — that’s required to achieve it. How ordinary, imperfect people band together and overcome a myriad of obstacles to grasp the extraordinary.”
Details about Penn’s character are currently unknown, but Willimon had this to say about the casting: “I have such deep admiration for Sean’s immense talent and extraordinary body of work. I feel very lucky to be collaborating with an artist of his caliber.”
Penn has previously guested on several TV series including Friends, Two and a Half Men, and Ellen, as well as a recent voice role on Family Guy. He recently starred in the critically panned film, The Last Face, and is attached to star and executive produce in HBO’s Andrew Jackson mini-series, American Lion.
Willimon created the drama and will write and executive produce alongside producing partner Jordan Tappis. Willimon’s and Tappis’ Westward Productions will own and produce The First.