The CBS All Access streaming service has announced the latest actors added to the cast of their upcoming “original drama series” Strange Angel. However, in reviewing the “characters” they’ll be playing one notes that none of them were historical figures! So while CBS’s PR notes that the series is “based on George Pendle’s book of the same name” — it’d appear that “loosely inspired” is a better way of putting it (for the hell of it, I pulled out my copy and checked for the characters’ names in the index and not an one appeared). So… the series might well be amusing as hell, though the fact that it’ll be just all dreamt up by screenwriters and have only a loose connection to the utter weirdness of the historical facts of Parsons’ lifestory… is perhaps the weirdest aspect of the series.
The CBS All Access site says:
“The newest cast members include Peter Mark Kendall, Michael Gaston, Greg Wise, Rade Šerbedžija, Zack Pearlman, and Keye Chen.
“The 1930s-set drama centers on Parsons, a brilliant and ambitious blue-collar worker in Los Angeles who started as a janitor at a chemical factory but had fantastical dreams that led him to birth the unknown discipline of American rocketry.
“Along the way, Parsons fell into a mysterious world that included sex magick rituals at night, and he became a disciple of occultist Aleister Crowley.
“Parsons used Crowley’s teachings of self-actualization to support his unimaginable and unprecedented endeavor to the stars.
“Here’s a more in-depth look at the series’ newest additions:
“Peter Mark Kendall as ‘Richard Onsted’: Jack’s oldest and best friend and a mathematical genius incapable of hiding his opinions, at least when he’s around people he deems less intelligent than himself (which is most of the time).
“Kendall’s television credits include NBC’s Chicago Med, FX’s The Americans, and HBO’s Girls. He will next be seen in the feature film I Am Not A Bird.
“Michael Gaston as ‘Virgil Byrne’: Jack’s father-in-law, a domineering, sanctimonious man and a religious zealot.
“Currently, Gaston can be seen as a series regular on Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle, and his other television credits include HBO’s The Leftovers, TNT’s Murder In The First, CBS’ Jericho, and the films Bridge Of Spies and Nicole Holofcener’s upcoming The Land Of Steady Habits.
“Greg Wise as ‘Alfred Miller’: The Grand Magus of the Agape Lodge, the occult group that Parsons gets pulled in to. Attractive and alluring, though a changeling, you never quite know where he stands.
“Wise is best known for his role as Willoughby in Ang Lee’s 1995 film adaptation of Sense And Sensibility and BBC period dramas including The Moonstone, Madame Bovary, and Cranford. Wise’s television credits include Netflix’s The Crown and BBC4’s Swedish thriller Modus.
“Rade Šerbedžija as Prof. ‘Filip Mešulam’: Jack’s mentor and advisor at Caltech who helps his rocketry project gain greater legitimacy.
“Šerbedžija is known for his roles in the films Batman Begins, Mission: Impossible II, Eyes Wide Shut, and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
“Zack Pearlman as ‘Samson Hunt’: a Caltech student eager to join Jack’s rocketeering team, a brilliant scientist in the field of fluid dynamics, and a strange combination of “good-ole-boy and nerd.”
“On TV, Pearlman is known for his roles on Showtime’s Shameless and Fox’s Mulaney, as well as roles in the films The Intern, Why Him?, and Staten Island Summer.
“Keye Chen as ‘Gui Chiang’: a regal, brilliant Caltech student who joins Jack’s rocketeering venture; he is descended from Asian royalty, but often overlooked by his faculty advisors.
“On TV, Chen recurred as Dang on the hit HBO comedy Silicon Valley, was a series regular on the go90 series Tales Of Titans, and had additional roles on TBS’ Cougar Town, Fox’s Gang Related, HBO’s The Comeback, and more.
“Strange Angel began production in early February and will be shooting across Los Angeles.
“The new show is created by Mark Heyman (Black Swan, The Skeleton Twins) and based on George Pendle’s book of the same name. It is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Scott Free Productions.”