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Join Watchmen stars Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Jovan Adepo and creatives Damon Lindelof, Nicole Kassell, and Stephen Williams for an exclusive Q&A interview moderated by Variety’s Adam Vary following highlight clips from the first season on June 22 in the Variety Streaming Room presented by HBO.
Oscar-winning actress Regina King has a decades-spanning career in Hollywood and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In addition to the Academy Award, King also won a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and the prestigious National Board of Review award for her supporting role as ‘Sharon Rivers’ in Barry Jenkin’s adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk. King has also won three Emmy Awards in recent years; one for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie’ for her work in the Netflix racial crime drama Seven Seconds and had won the previous two Emmy Awards in the ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie’ category for her role in the ABC anthology series American Crime, which also garnered her first Golden Globe Award nomination. Over the past few years, King has also stepped behind the camera directing episodes of critically acclaimed series such as NBC’s award-winning THIS IS US, ABC’s Scandal, TNT’s Animal Kingdom, ABC’s The Good Doctor and the Season 3 finale of HBO's Insecure among others.
King starred as the lead role in HBO’s critically hailed Watchmen series from creator Damon Lindelof based on and inspired by the DC comic book. This is the second time King has teamed up with Lindelof – they last collaborated on HBO’s The Leftovers, for which King won a Critics’ Choice award during the series’ second season.
It has also been announced that she is currently in production directing One Night in Miami based on the debut play from Kemp Powers, who has adapted it for the big screen. This marks King’s theatrical feature film directorial debut.
King is known for many memorable feature film roles such as her turn as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s wife ‘Marci’ in the blockbuster film Jerry Maguire, as well as How Stella Got Her Groove Back with Angela Bassett, the hit action thriller Enemy of the State opposite Will Smith, the family adventure Mighty Joe Young with Charlize Theron, Boys N the Hood written and directed by John Singleton, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous alongside Sandra Bullock, Cinderella Story opposite Hilary Duff, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde with Reese Witherspoon and Daddy Day Care opposite Eddie Murphy.
King currently resides in Los Angeles with her son.
Jeremy Irons won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Claus von Bulow in 1990’s Reversal of Fortune. He is also a Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony, and SAG award winner as well as the winner of an Honorary César Award in 2002, and a Premio Europa Per il Teatro.
Jeremy Irons began his formal theatre training at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and joined the Bristol Old Vic Company in 1969, staying for three years and playing in The Winter’s Tale, Hay Fever, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew and The Boyfriend, amongst others. In the West End Irons played in Godspell and Simon Gray’s The Rear Column, and The Caretaker and Much Ado About Nothing at the Young Vic. He also played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale and the King in Richard II at the RSC.
His film highlights include The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Mission (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), Damage (1992), M.Butterfly (1993), and Lolita (1997). He is the voice of the evil lion Scar in Disney’s The Lion King (1994) and starred opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995). More recent work includes the award-winning independent feature Margin Call (2011); Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Correspondence (2016); Jeremy Thomas’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley; director Stephen Hopkins’ Race (2016), based on the true story of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics; Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) and Justice League, reprising his role as Alfred Pennyworth. Additionally, he was the featured actor and executive producer of TRASHED, Candida Brady’s award-winning documentary on the environment. Mr. Irons can currently be seen in Red Sparrow, co-starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Francis Lawrence.
Mr. Irons was awarded Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Emmy for his role in the television miniseries Elizabeth I (2005) alongside Helen Mirren. He went on to play Pope Alexander in the Showtime historical series The Borgias (2011), and portrayed Henry IV in the BBC Two series of The Hollow Crown opposite Tom Hiddleston.
Jeremy Irons received a Tony for his performance in Tom Stoppard’s play The Real Thing (1983), and appeared on the London stage in the National Theatre’s Never So Good (2008) and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Gods Weep (2010). In 2016 he performed the role of James Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night as part of the Bristol Old Vic’s 250th anniversary; this production transferred to Wyndham's Theatre on London’s West End in January 2018, and then traveled to BAM's Harvey Theater in New York and the Bram Goldsmith Theater in Los Angeles. In 2018. Faber Publishing released a recording of the Complete Works of T.S. Eliot, read by Jeremy Irons.
Irons can currently be seen in the HBO production of WATCHMEN, the revamp led by Damon Lindelof. Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, WATCHMEN embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own.
Additionally, he completed production on the film Love, Weddings & Other Disasters, this comedy co-stars Diane Keaton and is written and directed by Dennis Dugan, and will be available to an audience in 2021.
This year (2020) Irons served as president of the International Jury at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival.
Jeremy Irons is Patron of the Prison Phoenix Trust and the Hope Foundation, and Chancellor of Bath Spa University.
Winner of three Emmy Awards with an additional five nominations, Jean Smart most recently received rave reviews for her performance as Special Agent Laurie Blake alongside Regina King, Jeremy Irons and Louis Gossett Jr. in the HBO series, WATCHMEN, based on the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name. She will next be seen in the action, comedy SUPERINTELLIGENCE, starring Melissa McCarthy, premiering on HBO MAX in Spring 2020. She recently wrapped the independent feature SENIOR MOMENT and is currently in production on the HBO limited series, “Mare of Easttown,” portraying Kate Winslet’s mother. The story focuses on a small-town Pennsylvania detective (Winslet) whose life crumbles around her as she investigates a local murder.
Jean recently signed on to a new production, set to star in a 10 Episode single-camera Untitled comedy project for HBO Max, created and written by Broad City alums Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky, and executive produced by the trio alongside Michael Schur. The comedy explores a dark mentorship that forms between a Las Vegas diva (Smart) and an entitled, outcast 25 year old.
Most recently Jean was seen in Dan Fogelman’s LIFE, ITSELF with Olivia Wilde, Samuel L. Jackson, and Oscar Isaac, as well as Paul Feig’s A SIMPLE FAVOR, with Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. She also recently was seen in the Bravo series DIRTY JOHN, starring alongside Connie Britton, Jake Abel and Eric Bana.
During her career, Jean has showcased her talents alongside numerous top Hollywood actors including Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana in LUCKY YOU; Reese Witherspoon in SWEET HOME ALABAMA; Steve Martin in BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE; Mark Wahlberg in I HEART HUCKABEES; Zach Braff and Peter Sarsgaard in GARDEN STATE; Bruce Willis in THE KID; Robert De Niro and Martin Landau in MISTRESS; and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in THE ODD COUPLE II.
Notably, she was seen starring alongside Anna Kendrick and Ben Affleck in director Gavin O’Connor’s THE ACCOUNTANT. Jean made her presence known on the big screen and garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her critically acclaimed performance in the Miramax feature film GUINEVERE. On stage, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for LAST SUMMER at Bluefish Cove and for a Tony Award for Best Actress for her starring role on Broadway opposite Nathan Lane in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER. In 2016, she also received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for her work on PATIENCE AND SARAH.
On TV, Jean guest starred on Noah Hawley’s FX series, LEGION. She also starred as “Floyd Gerhardt” on the second season of Hawley’s acclaimed series FARGO on FX, for which she won a Critics’ Choice Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Other recent film work includes GREAT HOPE SPRINGS with Meryl Streep, BARRY MUNDAY with Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer, YOUTH IN REVOLT with Michael Cera, and the dark comedy MISS MEADOWS opposite Katie Holmes and James Badge Dale.
TIM BLAKE NELSON
Tim Blake Nelson is a veteran actor, playwright and filmmaker whose remarkable filmography spans over eighty features including films by legendary filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, and The Coen Brothers, to name a few.
Nelson most recently starred as a series regular in HBO’s critically-acclaimed limited series, Watchmen, set in his native Tulsa, Oklahoma. For his performance as ‘Detective Looking Glass’, Nelson was nominated for a 2020 Critics Choice Award in the category of 'Best Supporting Actor’.
In 2019, he also starred in the Warner Bros. drama, Just Mercy, opposite Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx; co-starred in Amazon’s The Report from writer/director Scott Z. Burns, and the Lionsgate action-thriller Angel Has Fallen; and led the independent feature The True Don Quixote.
Nelson’s breakthrough performance came in 2000 with his iconic performance in Joel & Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?. For his vocal work on the film's original soundtrack, he received the Grammy Award for ‘Album of the Year’, shared alongside legendary music producer T Bone Burnett. In 2018, he reunited with the Coens for their Oscar-nominated Netflix anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, in which Nelson starred as the titular character, a role the filmmaking duo wrote specifically for him. He has also memorably appeared in the award-winning films Lincoln, Minority Report, The Thin Red Line, and Syriana, plus Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Holes, Fantastic Four, Meet the Fockers, As I Lay Dying, The Incredible Hulk, The Good Girl, Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the Emmy-winning HBO film, Warm Springs, among countless others.
As a filmmaker, Tim made his directorial debut with the award-winning Eye of God; followed by Liongate’s 2001 drama, O; the 2003 Lionsgate drama The Grey Zone, winner of NBR’s ‘Freedom of Expression’ Award; Millenium’s Leaves of Grass; IFC’s Anesthesia; and the pilot to the Amazon original series, Z. His theater credits as playwright include his plays Socrates, The Grey Zone, Eye of God, and Anadarko. As a stage actor, he has appeared Off-Broadway at New York Shakespeare Festival, MTC, Playwrights Horizons, MCC, New York Theatre Workshop, and Soho Rep.
He will next produce and star in the independent feature, Ghosts of the Ozarks, set to begin production this summer.
LOUIS GOSSETT JR.
Louis Gossett Jr. is one of the most respected and beloved actors on stage, screen and television and is also an accomplished writer, producer and director. Off-screen he is a social activist, author and speaker dedicated to enriching the lives of others through storytelling and creating a better world through his Eracism Foundation.
Gossett recently concluded several projects and is currently traveling the country on promotional tours and making appearances at film festivals.
Forthcoming projects include HBO’s “Watchman,” debuting October 20, 2019; and the independent films “Foster Boy,” “The Cuban,” and “The Reason” (2020).
Gossett was the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his unforgettable performance as drill Sergeant Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” Among his other awards are an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for his portrayal of Fiddler in the groundbreaking ABC series “Roots,” a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for “The Josephine Baker Story” and a Golden Globe for “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
He has been nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, one Academy Award, five Images Awards, two Daytime Emmy Awards and in 1992 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Gossett has also received numerous other honors throughout his illustrious career.
His film debut was in the 1961 classic movie “A Raisin in the Sun” with Sidney Poitier. Other film credits include “The Deep,” “Blue Chips,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” “Firewalker,” “Jaws-3D,” “Enemy Mine” and “Iron Eagle” 1-4, among many others. Television credits include “Extant,” “Madam Secretary,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Family Guy” and “ER,” among dozens of others.
Gossett is the author of the bestselling autobiography “An Actor and a Gentleman,” in which he chronicles the challenges and triumphs of his 50+ year career.
Gossett is recognized as much for his humanitarian efforts as he is for his accomplishments as an actor. In 2006, Gossett founded The Eracism Foundation which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating racism. The foundation provides young adults with tools to live a racially diverse and culturally inclusive life. Programs focus on fostering cultural diversity, historical enrichment, education and anti-violence initiatives.
Gossett was born in Brooklyn and made his stage debut when he was 17 in “Take a Giant Step,” which was selected as one of the 10 best Broadway shows of 1953 by The New York Times. He has two adult sons and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the most in-demand actors with a multitude of diverse projects on the horizon. This year, he made HuffPost’s Culture Shifters list, and in 2018, he was one of a select group of actors to make the prestigious The Hollywood Reporter’s NextGen list.
Yahya starred in HBO’s WATCHMEN, the highly-praised series which hailed from Damon Lindelof, which debuted to largest ratings in three years on October 20, 2019. Additionally, he starred in Netflix’s ALL DAY AND A NIGHT and SWEETNESS IN THE BELLY opposite Dakota Fanning, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
Yahya will star in the Jordan Peele produced remake of the highly popular CANDYMAN sequel for MGM/Universal. The reboot of the 1992 horror classic is being billed as a “spiritual sequel” to the original and returns to the neighborhood where the legend began: the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood. He will also star in Aaron Sorkin's THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 for which he will play Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale. Both films will premiere on September 25, 2020.
Recently, Yahya was also cast for a highly-coveted role in THE MATRIX 4, led by original director/writer Lana Wachowski, which is currently in production.
In previous years, Yahya starred as the coveted villain role of Black Manta in James Wan’s AQUAMAN opposite Jason Momoa for DC Comics and Warner Bros. It released December 21, 2018 and quickly crossed the $1 billion. Earlier this year, he starred in the “Striking Vipers” episode of BLACK MIRROR and was seen in the Jordan Peele smash hit ‘US’.
Yahya received critical acclaim for FIRST MATCH, based on an award-winning script by Olivia Newman that won the Audience Award at SXSW, with The New York Times stating “I don’t think I’ve seen better screen acting in 2018 than Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s work as Darrel…”. It released on Netflix in March 2018.
Past credits include THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, opposite Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya for Twentieth Century Fox. Past roles include Sony Pictures Classic’s BOUNDARIES, a guest role in Hulu award-winning series THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and a scene-stealing performance opposite Dwayne Johnson in Paramount’s BAYWATCH.
In August 2016, Yahya originated the role of Cadillac, the prince of disco, in Baz Luhrmann’s visionary television series, THE GET DOWN. The series was a musical drama about the rise of hip-hop in the 1970s. The first six episodes debuted on Netflix in August 2016, with the latter six episodes following in April 2017.
Yahya was born in New Orleans but grew up in Oakland, California. He was a gifted athlete in high school, who in addition to being a class clown, participated in the debate and chess teams. Yahya took his skills to UC Berkeley where he majored in architecture. After graduating, he went on to work in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing in city planning & community development. After the market crashed and Yahya’s team was laid off, he decided to pursue his interest in acting and was accepted into the Yale School of Drama.
In 2015, Yahya graduated Yale with an MFA in drama and was the sole recipient of the prestigious Herschel Williams Prize, awarded to one acting student per graduating class with outstanding ability. Yahya is a winner of Sun Valley Film Festival’s 2018 Rising Star Award.
Hong Chau continually draws inspiration from her family and her dramatic start to life. Her parents fled Vietnam by boat when her mother was 6 months pregnant, and Hong was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. With the help of a sponsor family, they settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hong’s first major TV role was in David Simon’s Treme(HBO), which was inspired by the Vietnamese fishing community in New Orleans. Hong’s breakout film role was in Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, which garnered major award nominations for her portrayal of a Vietnamese activist who loses a leg after escaping prison. Other projects include Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Jean-Marc Vallee’s Big Little Lies (HBO). Currently, Hong can be seen in Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen (HBO), the Amazon series Homecomingand the independent feature film Driveways (Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best Female Lead).
Jovan Adepo was born in Oxford shire, England to his American father James, a British police guard and mother Adelola, a student in the city of Oxford. Born into a military family meant life was always on the move. He moved to the United States at a young age, spending the majority of his upbringing in Maryland. With his mother an avid theatregoer and his father a movie buff, Adepo was exposed to electrifying performances from an early age.
Adepo has had an amazing last few year as one of the industry’s top emerging leading men. Adepo had two projects come out in winter 2019, first was the return of the Facebook series, “Sorry For Your Loss,” in which he starred opposite Elizabeth Olsen as her love interest. The show was a half-hour female-driven dramedy starring and executive produced by Olsen. Created and written by Kit Steinkellner (Z: The Beginning of Everything). The show ran for two seasons and launched Facebook’s original programming content.
In addition to SFYL, Jovan also co-starred in the second season of Amazon’s uber hit series “Jack Ryan,” as a series regular opposite John Krasinski. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, which hails from the “Lost” duo of co-showrunner Carlton Cuse and writer Graham Roland, Platinum Dunes, Skydance Television and Paramount TV, is a reinvention with a modern sensibility of the unexpected Tom Clancy hero.
In addition to his two fabulous shows, Jovan also made a bit of TV history in 2019 as one of the stars of two of most critically acclaimed TV projects since “People v. OJ.” First, Jovan starred as ‘Lionel Jefferson’ in the ABC, Jimmy Kimmel produced, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's "All in the Family" and "The Jefferson’s.'' The star-studded event brought in over 22M viewers on May 25th. Jovan starred opposite, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes. In addition to the Norman Lear project… Jovan also starred in Ava Duvernay’s ground breaking limited series for Netflix, “When They See Us.” The series told the true story of the Central Park 5. Jovan gave a riveting performance as ‘Anton McCray’ one of the CP5. The dramatic miniseries chronicles the true story involving the 1989 assault and rape of a jogger in New York City’s Central Park area. The attack made national headlines and subsequently resulted in the arrest and ultimate conviction of five teenagers. The case proved to be incredibly controversial and the teenagers in question were eventually exonerated years later thanks to DNA evidence. The series proved to be Netflix’s biggest watched limited series with 23M viewers.
Both were nominated for 2019 Emmy Awards with ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience” winning its category.
Recently, Jovan wrapped production on the independent feature The Violent Heart opposite Grace Van Patten. The two star as the leads of the film that is written and directed by Karem Segna. The film will premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to The Violent Heart, Jovan recently wrapped a series regular lead in the CBS All Access series, “Stephen King’s: The Stand” opposite James Marsden and Amber Heard. (TBD 2020).
Jovan’s past credits include the main lead of the JJ Abrams produced horror thriller film for Paramount Pictures, titled Overlord (November 2018). Jovan is best known for his role in Oscar nominated film Fences as “Cory Maxson” the son of the characters played by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. He was also a series regular on HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “The Leftovers.”
He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Damon Lindelof was born in New Jersey to a schoolteacher and a banker. He was also born a writer, although it would take over 25 years to figure that out. In 2004 he partnered with J.J. Abrams to create LOST. No, they were not dead the whole time. Since Damon left the island, he has worked as a writer and producer on STAR TREK, PROMETHEUS, WORLD WAR Z, TOMORROWLAND and most recently THE HUNT. Returning to TV in 2014 Damon spent three seasons showrunning HBO’s critically-acclaimed THE LEFTOVERS, which he fiercely defends as “not as depressing as everyone says.” Most recently he just wrapped up the HBO series WATCHMEN, which he fiercely defends as “not as confusing as everyone says.” Damon also wrote this bio.
DGA Award-winning director, producer, and writer Nicole Kassell is known for her bold aesthetic and dynamic visuals that have made her one of Hollywood’s most in-demand filmmakers today.
Kassell most recently executive produced the HBO limited series WATCHMEN from creator Damon Lindelof. The show, based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, stars Emmy and Academy Award winners Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Louis Gossett Jr, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Tim Blake Nelson, among others. Kassell, who won a DGA Award this year for her work on the WATCHMEN pilot, also directed episodes two and eight of the series. Certified Fresh at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, the series was recognized as one of AFI’s “TV Programs of the Year” and was nominated for a 2020 Peabody Award, and a Critics Choice Award for “Best Drama Series.”
Next up, Kassell is attached to direct and executive produce THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, a series for HBO Max, alongside the writers Cary Joji Fukunaga and Nick Osborne.
Kassell’s first feature film THE WOODSMAN, which she co-wrote with Steven Fechter, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by Newmarket Films. THE WOODSMAN received a CACAE (Art House award) at the Directors’ Fortnight at The Cannes Film Festival; The Jury Prize at the Deauville Film Festival; a Humanitas nomination; and The Satyajit Ray Award at the London Film Festival. For her work on the film, Kassell was nominated for a Gotham Award (Breakthrough Director) and Independent Spirit Award (Best First Feature) and was recognized by Variety as one of ten “Directors to Watch.”
Kassell has previously directed multiple episodes of critically praised television, including WESTWORLD, THE LEFTOVERS, THE KILLING, THE AMERICANS, VINYL and RECTIFY. Vulture called her second episode of THE LEFTOVERS “No Room at the Inn” the “Best TV Episode of 2015” and IndieWire has named her one of the “Top 25 Directors working in TV”.
Stephen Williams was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica and educated in England.
Shortly after his arrival in Hollywood, JJ Abrams saw Stephen's work and hired him to Direct and Co-Executive produce the Emmy Award winning series LOST.
Since then, Stephen has worked on a number of pilots and hit shows such as THE WALKING DEAD, RAY DONOVAN, THE AMERICANS, and WESTWORLD.
In 2019, Stephen signed on to Executive Produce/Direct the HBO limited series WATCHMEN.
He was nominated by the DGA for his extraordinary achievement in directing for the WATCHMEN episode "This Extraordinary Being"