Clarice: Kal Penn joins CBS’s The Silence of the Lambs sequel series
Harold & Kumar alum Kal Penn has been tapped for the role of Emin Grigoryan in CBS‘s forthcoming The Silence of the Lambs sequel series Clarice. In addition to Penn, Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), and Nick Sandow (Orange is the New Black) have also been cast for the roles of Paul Krendler, the leader of the VICAP Fly Team and Murray Clarke, Clarice’s chief hazer. They will be joining previously announced cast members Rebecca Breeds (Pretty Little Liars, The Originals) , Lucca De Oliveira (SEAL Team) and Devyn A. Tyler (The Purge).
“Like most people, I’m a huge Silence of the Lambs fan, so having the opportunity to join Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman on this project is very exciting,” Penn said in statement (via Deadline). “All of our conversations about Clarice thus far are so grounded in art and storytelling. It’s suspense, it’s a thriller, and it’s thoughtful.”
Penn’s Emin Grigoryan is an agent with a Ph.D. in library science. He is the conduit between the Fly Team and ViCAP’s growing database, as opposed to Clarice’s unique knowledge of Behavioral Sciences. A former curator for the Smithsonian, FBI is, for him, a second career. With expertise in all things archival — from insects, to ancient manuscripts, to missing children. Grigoryan makes the dryest patterns of forensic evidence feel like they came from Dante.
Set in 1993, six months after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice is a deep dive into the untold personal story of FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field to pursue serial murderers and sexual predators while navigating the high stakes political world of Washington, D.C.
Rebecca Breeds’ Starling is described as brilliant and vulnerable. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UVA with a double major in Psych and Criminology. Her bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her. Her complex psychological makeup comes from a challenging childhood, and her drive comes from her need to escape the burden of family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life. The character has previously been played by Jodie Foster, who won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Silence of the Lambs, and Oscar winner Julianne Moore in 2001’s Hannibal.
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs film was directed by Jonathan Demme (Rachel Getting Married) from a screenplay adapted by Ted Tally. Its starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in their iconic roles as Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. On top of its critical and commercial success with over $270 million gross worldwide, the film swept the top 5 major categories at the 64th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor and Actress for Foster and Hopkins’ incredible performances. The role of Clarice Starling was taken over by Julianne Moore in Ridley Scott’s 2001 sequel Hannibal, and should the Hannibal tv series have continued producer Bryan Fuller wanted to cast Ellen Page as Starling.
The series will be written and executive produced by frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Discovery) and Jenny Lumet, who are both also currently working together on CBS All Access’ upcoming series The Man Who Fell to Earth. The project is co-production between MGM and CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout. Heather Kadin of Secret Hideout will also executive produce with Aaron Baiers co-executive producing.