One of the benefits of the streaming era — where TV shows can be as much or as little, as cheap or as expensive, as finite or open-ended as the creators/platform choose — is that you can get a show like Solos that casts some of the highest-profile actors in the world to star in little half-hour episodes in an anthology series about memory, identity, and the ways in which science and progress can improve and threaten both. It's a heady little series from Hunters creator David Weil. At seven episodes, each half-hour places a different actor in a solo story (with one exception), performing a one-person show revolving around the show's themes. It helps when you can get world-class actors for these episodes, and Solos truly delivers in this regard. Here's our guide to the eight performers ready to go Solo:
Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway got her start on television in the short-lived FOX teen drama Get Real. From there, she broke through in a huge way as the star of The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and Rachel Getting Married, for which she got her first Oscar nomination. She won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Fantine in 2012's Les Miserables. Most recently, she appeared in another Amazon anthology series, Modern Love. On Solos, Hathaway stars in episode 1 as Leah, a physicist who is obsessed with traveling through time.
Morgan Freeman, the second Oscar winner in the Solos cast, has been acting in film and television for the last 50 years. He was a star on the children's program The Electric Company in the 1970s, he built a reputation as a world-class actor in movies like Lean on Me, Street Smart, The Shawshank Redemption, and Seven. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby. He's also made a tidy living playing either God (Bruce Almighty) or an omniscient voiceover (War of the Worlds; March of the Penguins). Most recently, Freeman played the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Madam Secretary. On Solos, he plays Stuart, who shows up in the 7th episode as an old man suffering from dementia who's offered a chance to regain his memories, although that comes with a dark revelation.
Fresh off of doing the whole Captain America thing on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie returns to TV, playing the character of Tom in episode 2, a man who learns his time on Earth is limited and so purchases a controversial product for his family. Mackie had his breakthrough role opposite Eminem in the film 8 Mile and then was a standout performer in the Best Picture winning film The Hurt Locker. He made his MCU debut in 2014 as Sam Wilson/The Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Solder, subsequently appearing in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
Helen Mirren, the third Oscar winner in the Solos cast, plays Peg, a woman on a journey to the farthest reaches of space as she recalls the moments of her life. Mirren's career goes all the way back to the 1960s and her days with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She's likely best known for her Best Actress-winning role in The Queen as Queen Elizabeth II. She's also recently starred as Queenie Shaw in the Fast and the Furious movies. On TV, Mirren's won four Emmy Awards, two for playing Detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect, and one for playing Elizabeth I in the HBO film of the same name. She most recently played the title character in the HBO miniseries Catherine the Great.
Uzo Aduba is having a bit of a moment for herself this month on TV. Set to star on HBO as the central character in the revived In Treatment, she's also playing the role of Sasha on Solos, a woman who's spent the last 20 years locked inside her smart home, petrified of an outside world that's experienced a global catastrophe. After earning acclaim for her Broadway performances in shows like Coram Boy and Godspell, Aduba played Suzanne Warren on Orange Is the New Black, a role which earned her two Emmy Awards. She won a third just this past year for playing Shirley Chisholm on Mrs. America.
Constance Wu's breakout role was as Jessica Huang on the ABC family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. From there, she got the lead role in the hit 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians, which she followed up with a lead role in Hustlers. On Solos, she plays Jenny, who shows up in episode 5 as a woman waiting in an endless waiting room, where she begins to unravel some of the terrible events of her life.
Nicole Beharie is probably best known for her role as Abbie Mills in the FOX drama Sleepy Hollow. Before that, she starred in director Steve McQueen's Shame, opposite Michael Fassbender, and as the wife of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) in 42. Most recently, she earned critical acclaim and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance in the indie film Miss Juneteenth. She appears in Solos episode 6 as Nera, an expectant mother who used a near-future fertility treatment, only to discover that the child she births is quite different than expected.
Dan Stevens co-stars with Morgan Freeman in the anthology's final episode. He plays Otto, a young mean who seeks out Freeman's Stuart, seemingly to help him regain his memories, but there's more at play. Stevens is best known for his role as Matthew Crawley on the hit PBS series Downton Abbey, and he's been able to parlay that fame into a series of really interesting and wide-ranging roles, from the title role in the horror/thriller The Guest, to the lucrative role of The Beast in the Beauty and the Beast remake, to a home run of a supporting performance in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
All seven episodes of Solos drop Friday May 21 on Amazon.
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.