Sam Mendes & Armando Iannucci’s HBO Pilot ‘The Franchise’ Sets Cast Including Billy Magnussen, Jessica Hynes & Lolly Adefope 

by Jennie Evans

The Franchise , a comedy pilot for HBO that takes a wry look at superhero moviemaking, has found its cast.

The project from Sam Mendes and Armando Iannucci has cast Billy Magnussen, Jessica Hynes, Darren Goldstein, Lolly Adefope and Isaac Powell as series regulars and Daniel Brühl and Richard E. Grant as recurring guest stars.

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The Franchise follows a hopeful crew trapped inside the dysfunctional, nonsensical, joyous hellscape of franchise superhero moviemaking. If and when they finally make the day, there’s a question they must face: Is this Hollywood’s new dawn or cinema’s last stand? Is this a dream factory or a chemical plant?

The series comes from the mind of Mendes and marks the Empire of Light and 1917 helmer’s first U.S. TV directorial project.

Magnussen (Made for Love) plays Adam, Hynes (W1A) plays Steph, Goldstein (Ozark) plays Pat, Adefope (Ghosts) is Dag, and Powell (West Side Story) plays Peter, while Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) is Eric, and Grant (Withnail and I) is Peter.

The Franchise will be exec produced by Iannucci, via his Dundee Productions banner, and Mendes, via his All3Media-backed production company Neal Street Productions. Mendes, the American Beauty The Oscar winner who hatched the idea, also will direct.

Jon Brown is set as showrunner, wrote the pilot and will exec produce alongside Pippa Harris, Nicolas Brown, Julie Pastor, Keith Akushie, Marina Hyde and Jim Kleverweis.