The new HBO series Mare of Easttown has quite the feather in its cap with Kate Winslet, who is making her first appearance is in an original HBO production since 2011's Mildred Pierce. The series, from creator Brad Inglesby (who wrote the 2020 Ben Affleck drama The Way Back), centers on Mare Sheehan, a one-time high-school basketball star who's been battered and bruised by life and is now a police detective in her hometown of Easttown, Pennsylvania. Tasked with solving a harrowing new murder case, she's forced to navigate the town she's never been able to escape.
The limited series features a starry and accomplished ensemble playing Mare's friends, family, and neighbors. Here's a guide to who's playing who, and where you've seen them before:
Kate Winslet made her film debut in 1994 in the Peter Jackson-directed Heavenly Creatures, winning acclaim for her standout performance. The next year, she earned her first Oscar nomination, for Sense and Sensibility. It was the first of many. Winslet gave iconic performances in films like Titanic and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she finally won the Best Actress Oscar for 2008's The Reader, and took home a bunch of other awards for her lead performance in the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. She's playing another title character in Mare Sheehan, a police detective dealing with a local murder and navigating her past tragedies.
In the role of Lori Ross, Mare's best friend since childhood, is Julianne Nicholson, most recently featured in HBO's adaptation of Stephen King's The Outsider. One of her early breakthroughs was as a main cast member on the fifth and final season of Ally McBeal. She's since starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Boardwalk Empire, and Masters of Sex. She played one of Meryl Streep's three daughters, alongside Julia Roberts and Juliette Lewis, in August: Osage County, and she'll be playing Marilyn Monroe's mother in the upcoming biopic Blonde.
Three-time Emmy winner Jean Smart plays Helen, Mare's formidable mother. Smart was most recently seen on HBO's Watchmen, earning raves and an Emmy nomination for her performance. She made her mark on TV in the '80s as Charlene on Designing Women, and went on to win acclaim for her performances on shows like 24, Frasier, and Fargo, and in films like I Heart Huckabees and A Simple Favor.
Evan Peters came to fame as one of Ryan Murphy's most valuable recurring performers on the American Horror Story series. He's appeared in all but one of the AHS seasons that have aired thus far, and he's set to appear in Season 10 as well. Most recently, he showed up on WandaVision as the "re-cast" Pietro Maximoff, a cheeky nod to his performance as the Marvel superhero Quicksilver in the X-Men movies. On Mare of Easttown, he plays a county detective from outside Easttown who's called in to assist Mare with the murder investigation.
Australian actor Guy Pearce is once again starring opposite Kate Winslet in an HBO series, after they both starred in Mildred Pierce. His early career in his home country included the soap opera Neighbours and the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. His breakthrough in the U.S. was the Oscar-nominated film L.A. Confidential in which he sparred with fellow Aussie breakthrough Russell Crowe. In 2001, he starred in Christopher Nolan's indie hit Memento, and he's since made his mark in films like The King's Speech, Animal Kingdom, and Iron Man 3. He plays Richard Ryan in Mare of Easttown, a local creative writing professor who crosses paths with Mare.
Australian actress Angourie Rice got her breakthrough role as Ryan Gosling's daughter in The Nice Guy. She went on to play Betty Brant in both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home, and starred opposite Miley Cyrus in a 2019 episode of Black Mirror. In Mare of Easttown, she plays Siobahn Sheehan, Mare's teenage daughter.
David Denman is best known as Roy, Pam Beesley's obviously-wrong-for-her boyfriend on the American version of The Office. His other significant roles include playing a football player opposite Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman in The Replacements, as Katie Holmes's husband in Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, and as the demon Skip on Angel. He plays Frank, Mare's ex-husband on Mare of Easttown.
(Photo: Devs, FX)
Cailee Spaeny plays isolated teen Erin McMenamin on Mare of Easttown. She's best known for playing Lyndon on the FX series Devs and for her prominent roles in Pacific Rim: Uprising, Bad Times at the El Royale, and The Craft: Legacy. She also played the daughter of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex and the young Lynne Cheney in Vice.
Acclaimed theater actor John Douglas Thompson plays Chief Carter, Mare's boss at the Easttown police department. Known for his work in Othello, The Iceman Cometh, and Satchmo at the Waldorf, he earned a 2017 Tony nomination for his performance in August Wilson's Jitney.
(Photo: Angels in America)
Scottish actor James McArdle is best known for his performance as Louis Ironson in the 2017 National Theater production of Angels in America, a role he brought stateside when the revival transferred to Broadway in 2018. He's also appeared in the films Mary Queen of Scots and opposite his Mare of Easttown co-star Kate Winslet in the 2020 film Ammonite.
Mare of Easttown premieres on HBO April 18th at 10:00 PM ET.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.