The network made the casting announcement on Thursday.
Winstead will play Laurel, the daughter of a Democratic political dynasty. The character left D.C. to become a documentary filmmaker, but she is pulled back into the family business when her brother, the senate majority whip, needs her help running his senate office. Now a young, fresh-faced Hill staffer, Laurel discovers that the government has stopped working, and that alien spawn have come to Earth and eaten the brains of a growing number of congressmen and Hill staffers.
“BrainDead” landed a straight-to-series order earlier this summer, marking CBS’s continuous relationship with the Kings, who created “The Good Wife.”
“We’ve been fans of Mary going back to ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,’ but it was really her extraordinary work in ‘Smashed’ and ‘Alex of Venice’ that had us imagining Laurel’s lines coming out of her mouth,” said the husband-and-wife duo. “She’s fantastic at mixing comedy and drama, and keeping it all vulnerable, yet real. We can’t wait to see what she does with Laurel.”
Winstead’s past credits also include films “Final Destination 3,” “Black Christmas,” “Death Proof” and “The Thing,” among others. On TV, she starred on A&E’s “The Returned,” and will appear in PBS’s upcoming drama “Mercy Street.”
The Kings are exec producing “BrainDead,” alongside Ridley Scott, David Zucker and Liz Glotzer for CBS Television Studios, Scott Free Productions, King Size Productions. Judy Smith, the crisis manager who inspired “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope, will serve as a co-exec producer on the series.
For Winstead, the project marks a reunion with Scott and Zucker, who are also exec producing “Mercy Street.”
“BrainDead” is set to premiere in summer 2016.