O’Neill’s casting was reported in March, but according to an individual with knowledge of the production, he has exited for personal reasons.
The series follows Irene (Spacek) and Franklin (Simmons) York, a couple who years ago discovered a chamber buried in their backyard which inexplicably leads to a strange, deserted planet. They’ve carefully guarded their secret ever since, but when an enigmatic young man enters their lives, the Yorks’ quiet existence is quickly upended and the mysterious chamber they thought they knew so well turns out to be much more than they could ever have imagined.
Simmons is a highly-acclaimed actor on both the big and small screen. He won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award in 2015 for his role in the Damien Chazelle film “Whiplash,” with his other film roles including Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” franchise, “Juno,” “La La Land,” and “Thank You for Smoking.” On the TV side, he turned in a memorable performance as the violent neo Nazo Vern Schillinger in the HBO prison drama “Oz,” and has recently starred in shows like “Counterpart” and lent his voice to shows like “The Legend of Korra” and Amazon’s “Invincible,” the latter of which was recently renewed for two more seasons.
He is repped by Gersh.
“Lightyears” is scheduled to begin filming later this year. Holden Miller is the writer and co-executive producer, with Daniel C. Connolly showrunning and executive producing. Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen of Mosaic also executive produce along with Philip Martin, who will also direct. Juan José Campanella will direct and executive produce the first two episodes. The series is a co-production between Amazon Studios and Legendary Television. Legendary currently produces the Amazon series “Carnival Row” and is currently working on the series “Paper Girls” for the streamer.