Syfy has announced additional casting for its previously announced pilot Alphas, inking actors Malik Yoba and Laura Mennell to co-star in the wry action-adventure project from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project. Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun Television and will be directed by Jack Bender (director and executive producer of Lost). It is slated to commence production next month in Toronto.
Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
Yoba plays Alphas team member Bill Harken, a former FBI agent from working class roots. Harken’s Alpha skill allows him to intentionally activate a “fight-or-flight mechanism” producing a power surge of adrenaline giving him increased strength, speed and immunity from pain.
Mennell plays the complicated Alpha team member Nina Theroux. Seductive, intelligent and confident, Nina’s Alpha ability allows her to influence people into doing whatever she wishes but her power can sometimes spin out of control. Her skill also comes with a personal drawback in that she can never be sure if anyone’s feelings for her are real. Nina was the first team member enlisted by Dr. Rosen to whom she remains extremely loyal.
“Malik and Laura are perfect additions to an already impressive ensemble cast. They both have great intensity and charisma,” said Stern. “We look forward to seeing them breathe life into the complex characters of Harken and Nina.”
Malik Yoba is well known for his co-starring role as NYPD detective J.C. Williams on the popular police drama New York Undercover from 1994 to 1998, and has also appeared in the feature films Why Did I Get Married? (2007), Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010), Cool Runnings (1993) and Criminal (2004). He has made numerous television appearances including on the series Arrested Development as Ice, a bounty hunter whose real love is party planning, and the recurring character Brock Harris on the sitcom Girlfriends. Yoba also appeared in the crime drama Thief and the NBC crime drama Raines, and portrayed astronaut Ted Shaw on the futuristic drama Defying Gravity.
Malik Yoba is represented by Kieran Maguire of The Arlook Group and Steve Muller at Innovative Artists.
Laura Mennell is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Janey Slater in the feature film Watchmen, Lily Mercy in television movie Montana Sky (2007) and the Emmy nominated television movie Flight 93 (2006), which chronicled the events aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
Laura Mennell is represented by Vicki Petronio-King for Play Management Inc.
Leading the cast will be critically lauded actor David Strathairn, who earned rave reviews and received Best Actor Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Edward R. Murrow in the film Good Night, and Good Luck. Strathairn plays the unconventional, eccentric Alphas team leader Dr. Lee Rosen. Though he comes across as somewhat of an absent-minded professor at times, he is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives and in support of his Team.