One day after word came down that CBS gave a series order for The Silence of the Lambs sequel Clarice starring Rebecca Breeds (Home and Away, Pretty Little Liars) as FBI Agent Clarice Starling, newly-announced cast member Kal Penn (Sunnyside) shared his thoughts on joining the famed literary and film franchise's next television effort. Penn joins Nick Sandow, Michael Cudlitz, Lucca De Oliveira, and Devyn A. Tyler on the sequel-spinoff, and now there is more information on some of the supporting cast. Set in 1993 (six months after The Silence of the Lambs), the series is a deep dive into the untold personal story of brilliant and vulnerable 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. Based on characters and situations from Thomas Harris' novels, the series stems from writers and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet.
For Penn, it's about working with people you trust and joining a project he respects and is a fan of: "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. 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. Emin 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 has the unique ability to make the dryest patterns of forensic evidence feel like they came from Dante.
Cudlitz's Paul Krendler is the leader of the VICAP Fly Team who grew up in the second-best house in the second-best neighborhood in Hershey, PA. His father was an executive at Hershey Park, but Paul hated "The Sweetest Place on Earth" with a vehemence. A truly gifted investigator for the Department of Justice with solid legal skills, Krendler is also wily and sensitive to the shifting political winds.
Sandow's Murray Clarke is Clarice's chief hazer. A heavy smoker, a bit out of shape, and slow to move in the office, Clarke is still one of an agent's best friends in the field. Hailing from a law enforcement family, Clarke went to Holy Cross on a lacrosse scholarship and a ticket to the FBI. Never made it past field agent, never wanted to. Clarke may like presenting himself as a knock-around guy, but his uncanny ability to sense the truth puts him in a category all his own.
Kurtzman and Lumet will executive produce alongside Secret Hideout's Heather Kadin, with the company's Aaron Baiers serving as co-executive producer. Clarice isn't MGM's first attempt at a series: in 2012, the company was working with Lifetime on a series that would focus on the character after graduating from the FBI Academy – but the project did not move forward. No information was released on if the series will use Harris' 1999 sequel novel Hannibal as source material, or move forward with a new storyline. MGM Television, CBS Television Studios, and Kurtzman's CBS Studios-based Secret Hideout are set to produce the series.
"After more than 20 years of silence, we're privileged to give voice to one of America's most enduring heroes – Clarice Starling. Clarice's bravery and complexity have always lit the way, even as her personal story remained in the dark. But hers is the very story we need today: her struggle, her resilience, her victory. Her time is now, and always."
– Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet