The long-gestating drama “The Gilded Age,” which hails from “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, has announced four members of its main cast.
The series is set in the titular period of American history, beginning in 1882. It centers on young Marian Brook, the orphaned daughter of a Southern general, who moves into the home of her rigidly conventional aunts in New York City. Accompanied by the mysterious Peggy Scott, an African-American woman masquerading as her maid, Marian gets caught up in the dazzling lives of her stupendously rich neighbors, led by a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife struggling for acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set.
“The Gilded Age” had previously been ordered to series at NBC before moving to HBO in May with a 10-episode production commitment.
Baranski will star as Agnes van Rhijn. The character is described as a proud and stubborn aristocrat who will never accept that the world has changed, and that ancient values are being replaced by new ones. She found herself penniless as her parents’ plantation was foundering, even before the war, but she managed to catch a husband just in time. Agnes has a son named Oscar, whom she worships, but her worship is not returned.
Baranski currently stars in the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight.” That show is a spinoff of the CBS series “The Good Wife,” for which Baranski was nominated for six Emmy Awards. She is also known for her television roles on shows like “Cybil” and “The Big Bang Theory.” On the film side, she has starred in projects like “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” “A Bad Moms Christmas,” “Mamma Mia!” “Trolls,” “Miss Sloane,” “Into the Woods,” “Chicago,” and “Cruel Intentions.”
She is repped by UTA and Viking Entertainment.
Nixon will play Ada Brook. Ada is another victim of the collapse of the old south, but unlike her sister Agnes, she never found a way to get out until it was too late, and she was forced back on her sister’s charity. She is not naturally confrontational, but she is capable of standing up for what she believes.
The casting represents a homecoming for Nixon, who starred in the hit HBO series “Sex and the City.” She was nominated for three Emmys and four Golden Globes for her time on the show, winning the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy in 2004. She will next be seen in the Ryan Murphy Netflix series “Ratched” opposite Sarah Paulson. Her other recent TV credits include “Hannibal,” “The Affair,” “Broad City,” “Alpha House,” and “The Big C.”
She is repped by UTA and Brookside Artist Management.
Peet will appear as Bertha Russell. Bertha comes from the ordinary middle-class. She backed her instincts when she set out to catch her husband George, the son of a merchant family who has proved to be a financial genius. She is determined to use her money and position to break into a society that resists change at every turn.
Peet previously starred in the HBO series “Togetherness.” She also appeared in multiple episodes of “The Good Wife.” She will star in the upcoming second season of the USA Network series “Dirty John.” Her film credits include “Something’s Gotta Give,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Syriana,” “Please Give” and “Igby Goes Down.”
She is repped by The Gersh Agency, Management 360, and Hansen Jacobson.
Spector will play George Russell. A classic robber baron of his own time, Russell is pleasant enough in company. He’s fond of his wife and his children, but utterly ruthless in business. He has already acquired millions, and billions will follow. In every challenge, George must win.
Spector will next appear in HBO’s “The Plot Against America” miniseries. He also recently appeared in the “Suits” spinoff “Pearson,” Showtime’s hit drama “Homeland,” HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and “Orange is the New Black” for Netflix.
He is repped by Innovative Artists and Untitled Entertainment.
Fellowes will serve as writer and executive producer on “The Gilded Age,” with Michael Engler set to direct and executive produce. Gareth Neame will also executive produce. The series is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television.