“Naomi,” the DC drama pilot from Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship, has added six to its cast, including “7th Heaven” and “Hart of Dixie” alum Barry Watson. Additionally, “Queen Sugar” and “Ozark” director Amanda Marsalis will helm and co-executive produce the pilot.
Watson is set to play Greg, Naomi’s adoptive father and military vet who is happily married to Jennifer and sees Naomi as the “perfect daughter.” Watson recently appeared in Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice” as Lachlan Murdoch, as well as in “The Current Occupant,” and “A Dog’s Way Home.” He is represented by Innovative Artists and Trademark Talent.
Mary-Charles Jones has been cast as Annabell, Naomi’s “fiercely loyal classmate and best friend who is unafraid of telling Naomi hard truths,” and supports her friend’s quest for answers about a recent mysterious event. Jones starred as CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait” for two seasons and has also appeared in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Hannah Montana,” “New Girl,” and other series. She is repped by Industry Entertainment, The Osbrink Agency and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner and Gellman.
Aidan Gemme will play Jacob, the sweet, shy, slightly nerdy boyfriend of Annabelle who treats her like a queen. On screen, he has appeared in Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” and as the voice of Benny on “Dora the Explorer”; on stage, he has starred as Peter in the original Broadway company of “Finding Neverland,” as well as in the Broadway production of “Waiting for Godot” and “Mary Poppins.” Gemme is repped by Paradigm and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.
Mouzam Makkar is set to play Jennifer, Naomi’s adoptive mother who teaches linguistics at the town military base and dotes on her bright and gifted daughter. Makkar was most recently in ABC’s “The Fix” and NBC’s “Champions.” The accomplished stage actress, known for her work in Chicago and Los Angeles theater, has also appeared on screen in “Chicago Fire,” “Vampire Diaries,” “The Exorcist,” “Matador,” and other programs. Makkar is repped by Artists First, A3 Artists Agency and Myman Greenspan.
Daniel Puig will appear as Nathan, a high school jock who briefly dated Naomi before she ended things, and with whom he still shares an “undeniable chemistry.” Puig filmed the lead role in the SAG new-media series “The System,” a teen-centric crime drama. He is repped by CESD and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Additionally, Will Meyers has been cast as Anthony, a proud “townie” who has a crush on Naomi and will do anything to help her on her journey.
Director Marsalis, whose feature debut “Echo Park” was picked up by DuVernay’s company ARRAY for distribution, has also directed episodes of “Westworld,” “Umbrella Academy,” and Apple TV Plus’ “Invasion.” She is repped by WME and Del Shaw Moonves.
Kaci Walfall has already been announced as Naomi, with Alexander Wraith, Cranston Johnson and Camila Moreno joining her as series regulars.
DuVernay and Blankenship are writing and exec producing the drama, with Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of ARRAY Filmworks as non-writing exec producers. “Naomi” is produced by ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.