'True Blood' Star Ryan Kwanten Lands New TV Role

Ryan Kwanten, who starred as John Stackhouse in the Showtime vampire drama True Blood, has landed a major new television role. The Australian actor will star in Kindred, a pilot in development at FX based on Octavia Butler's 1979 science fiction novel. Micah Stock, Gayle Rankin, Austin Smith, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and David Alexander Kaplan will also star in the new pilot, Variety reported earlier this week.

Mallori Johnson will make her television debut in the lead role of Dana, a young Black writer who splits her time between the present day and a 19th-century slave plantation. Kindred will be directed by Janicza Bravo, who recently won acclaim for her film Zola. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen) wrote the pilot. Executive producers include Jacobs-Jenkins, Bravo, Courtney Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel of Protozoa Pictures, Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields, Ernestine Walker and Merrilee Heifetz.

Kindred was published in 1979. In the book, Dana is a Los Angeles writer who meets her ancestors when she is mysteriously transported to a pre-Civil War plantation in Maryland. She spends more time in the past and finds herself building complicated connections with the past as she tries to get back to her own time. The book was adapted as a graphic novel in 2017, but FX's pilot will be the first attempt to adapt the book to the screen.

"The Octavia E. Butler Estate was thrilled and grateful to have placed Kindred with Courtney Lee Mitchell at the outset, who brought it to Branden Jacobs Jenkins (a young writer who shares with Octavia the rare honor of being a MacArthur 'Genius' Award recipient) and then to the terrific people at Protozoa. FX could not be a better or more enthusiastic partner, as evidenced by the brilliant creative team they are building, and the legendary slate of shows they have produced," Butler's estate said in a statement in March when the project was announced. "We can't wait to see this beloved work take its place among the stars in the FX universe."

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Stock earned a Tony nomination for It's Only a Play and recently starred in Netflix's Bonding and Disney+'s The Right Stuff. Rankin starred in Netflix's GLOW and was last seen in HBO's Perry Mason. Smith starred in Netflix's Russian Doll and was an original cast member of Hamilton. Crowe-Legacy can be seen in Epix's Godfather of Harlem and on Broadway in Slave Play. Kaplan recently starred in Lifetime's A Sister's Secret.