J.K. Simmons to Lead Starz Series COUNTERPART from IMITATION GAME Director

     April 22, 2015


It appears as though J.K. Simmons is following up his well-deserved Oscar win with a move that’s becoming more and more frequent: a television series. Deadline reports that the Whiplash actor is set to topline the supernatural thriller series Counterpart for Starz, with The Imitation Game helmer (and recent Best Director nominee) Morten Tyldum set to direct the first two episodes.

The show is described as an espionage thriller with a metaphysical twist, as Simmons will star as Howard Silk, “a lowly cog in a bureaucratic UN agency who is turning the last corner of a life filled with regret, when he discovers the agency he works for is guarding a secret: a crossing to a parallel dimension. Through Howard and his ‘Counterpart’ on the other side, Prime, the show will navigate themes of identity, idealism, what ifs, and lost love.”


Image via Sony Pictures Classics

MRC is producing the show, which was written by Jason Marks, the screenwriter behind Disney’s upcoming The Jungle Book. It’s unclear how many episodes Starz will order, but Deadline notes that the intention is to pick the show up for two seasons, just as Starz did with the upcoming MRC-produced comedy Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart.

I was thrilled to see Simmons finally get his due at this year’s Oscars, and landing his own TV series on premium cable is certainly a swell feat. He won’t be leaving the film world entirely behind though, as he’s currently filming the drama The Accountant opposite Ben Affleck and is poised to have a supporting role in Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island.

As for Tyldum, he’s currently readying his next film after helming The Imitation Game to great success. The sci-fi drama Passengers is set to star Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, with production aiming to get underway later this year. One imagines he’ll first helm Counterpart before moving onto that feature, though Starz hasn’t given an official timetable for the series just yet.