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WGN America’s ‘Scalped’ Pilot Fills Out Lead Cast, Native American Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo to Produce

The lead cast for WGN America’s “Scalped” pilot is now complete. The Warner Horizon Scripted TV project has added Gil Birmingham, Irene Bedard, and Chaske Spencer; the three join the previously announced Alex Meraz and Lily Gladstone.

Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo will serve as a producer and joins executive producer Len Goldstein on the creative team led by executive producer/writer Doug Jung. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (who are also directing on FX’s upcoming “Snowfall”), “Scalped” is based on characters created by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra for Vertigo from DC Entertainment. A modern-day crime story set in the world of a Native American reservation, “Scalped” explores power, loyalty and spirituality in a community led by the ambitious Chief Lincoln Red Crow as he reckons with Dashiell Bad Horse, who has returned home after years away from the reservation. If it goes to series, it will be the first ongoing project to have a predominantly Native American cast.

Here’s a breakdown of the characters:

Gil Birmingham as Chief Lincoln Red Crow: The controversial Chief of the Prairie Rose Reservation. Formerly an idealistic activist, Red Crow orchestrates the opening of the casino on the “Rez,” believing it to be the key to his tribe’s future and redemption for his own dark past. But the casino proves to be a Pandora’s Box, with Red Crow struggling to keep it the Rez’s salvation and not its demise. Birmingham most recently co-starred with Jeff Daniels in the film “Hell or High Water,” and has popped up as the father of Jane Krakowski’s character in Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Alex Meraz as Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse: Exiled from the Rez by his mother at the age of 13, Dash returns home after 15 years as a criminal with a mysterious agenda. His return sets him on a violent path of self-discovery about his place on the Rez and on a collision course with both his estranged mother and Red Crow. Meraz has a recurring role on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and was in WB’s “Suicide Squad.”

Lily Gladstone as Carol Red Crow: Red Crow’s estranged daughter. The former “Rez Princess,” tragic circumstances set her against her father and down a self-destructive spiral meant to punish him as much as herself. Fiercely independent and intelligent, Carol gradually comes to discover the influence she can exert on the Rez’s future. Gladstone was a breakout in 2016’s “Certain Women.”

Irene Bedard as Gina Bad Horse: A legendary activist and the public face of opposition to Red Crow and his casino. Her efforts and ways of helping her people stand in stark opposition to Red Crow, despite their intimate and secretive past together. In the face of Red Crow’s success with the casino, Gina begins to realize that defeating him requires adopting his dark tactics. Bedard, for the trivia-inclined, was the voice of Pocahontas in the Disney animated movie “Pocahontas.” She also starred in miniseries “Into the West.”

Chaske Spencer as Sheriff Falls Down: The local sheriff with a deep investment in the Rez and its people, his wry easy manner obscures an edge and keen intelligence. There is no love lost between Sheriff Falls Down and Chief Red Crow — but there is a mutual respect. Spencer, who also starred in “Into the West,” had a recurring role as Deputy Billy Raven on Cinemax’s “Banshee” and has a series regular slot on the NBC-Sony pilot “The Frontier.”

Production on the pilot will begin in April in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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