HBO's sci-fi superhero series The Nevers premieres this week, and although its release has been clouded by the reported transgressions of its creator Joss Whedon (who stepped down from the production in November), there's still a TV show left behind, one which has been the project of many writers, performers, and professionals who aren't Joss Whedon. A Victorian era origin story about a group of women, known as the "Touched," who come into supernatural abilities/superpowers and face enemies both institutional and criminal, here is a roundup of the show's major players and where you may have seen them before.
Belfast-born Laura Donnelly is a stage and screen actress who's appeared on such TV shows as Outlander and The Fall, but her biggest successes have been in the theater. She won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman, and when that show transferred to Broadway in 2019, she reprised the role and earned further acclaim and a Tony nomination. Her character in The Nevers, Amalia True, is described as "the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink."
British actress Olivia Williams has been a familiar face in film and on TV for decades now. Her earliest breakthrough roles were as Bruce Willis's haunted wife in The Sixth Sense and as the woman who comes between Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore. She also co-starred in the Oscar-nominated film An Education and earned critical acclaim for her performance in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer. On TV, she's probably best known for playing Adele DeWitt on the short-lived sci-fi series Dollhouse. In The Nevers, she plays Lavinia, a rich spinster who supports the Touched in their endeavors.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, James Norton came to fame via two big roles: he earned big critical acclaim for playing the villain in the British crime drama Happy Valley, and he played Reverend Sidney Chambers for four seasons on the detective series Grantchester. Most recently he played John Brooke in the Greta Gerwig-directed film version of Little Women. His Nevers character, Hugo Swan, is described as a pansexual aristocrat and extortionist.
Tom Riley made his Broadway debut in the 2011 revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, opposite Billy Crudup and Bel Powley. On TV, he played the title role in the BBC/Starz series DaVinci's Demons. He plays Augie Bidlow on The Nevers, Lavinia's brother and a kind geek.
Irish actress Ann Skelly, whose screen credits include the miniseries Death and Nightingales, opposite Matthew Rhys and Jamie Dornan, and the Irish crime drama Red Rock, plays Penance, Amalia's best friend who is very religious and yet also quite progressive.
Ben Chaplin has been working in film and television since the early 1990s. His best-known performances have been as Private Bell in director Terrence Malick's Oscar-nominated The Thin Red Line, as the love interest to Billy Crudup in Stage Beauty, and as the ill-fated father to Lily James's title character in the 2015 Cinderella. And, of course, he was the center of a love triangle between Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. On The Nevers, he plays a gruff, often violent police officer who nonetheless holds onto a strong sense of morals.
Veteran actor Pip Torrens plays the role of Lord Massen on The Nevers. Massen is a strong supporter of the British Empire and looks upon superpowered individuals like the Touched with a great deal of skepticism. Torrens is perhaps best known for playing Tommy Lascelles, private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, on The Crown. He's also had a major role in the British series Poldark, and featured parts in movies like The Iron Lady, The Danish Girl, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
British-Nigerian actor Zackary Momoh is best known for his performances in the 2018 Netflix miniseries Seven Seconds, opposite Emmy-winner Regina King; as the father of a young girl with supernatural powers in Doctor Sleep; and as John Tubman, opposite Cynthia Erivo's Harriet Tubman in the Oscar-nominated Harriet. On The Nevers, he plays a West Indian doctor who comes into his supernatural powers with Amalia's help.
Scottish actress Amy Manson has appeared in TV shows like Torchwood, Being Human, and Misfits. Her character on The Nevers, Maladie, is a killer in charge of a band of renegades.
Comedic actor Nick Frost is quite well known for his contributions to the films of Edgar Wright. Frost appeared opposite Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. He's also co-starred in director Richard Curtis's Pirate Radio, the Netflix import series Sick Note, opposite Rupert Grint, and is set to star in the second season of the Paramount+ series Why Women Kill. On The Nevers, he plays Declan Orrun, the criminal mastermind known as the Beggar King.
American actor Denis O'Hare is probably still best known for playing vampire king Russell Edgington on the HBO series True Blood, but he's appeared on many other TV shows (The Good Wife; Big Little Lies; This Is Us) and movies (Michael Clayton). He's also been a recurring player on Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story series. He plays Dr. Edmund Hague on The Nevers, a brutal American surgeon.
The Nevers premieres on HBO Sunday April 11th at 9:00 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.