Eddie Izzard to Star in HBO Salem Witch Trial Pilot from Jenji Kohan and Gus Van Sant

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Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard has been cast in the pilot of HBO’s new show from Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan.

The show, tentatively titled The Devil You Know, will be a period drama exploring the circumstances of the Salem Witch Trials in 17th century New England. This dark period in America’s history pitted townsfolk against one another and sent the town into a religious frenzy. In total, 19 people were hanged, an elderly man was crushed with stones and several people died in jail after being accused of witchcraft. Nearly 200 people were accused overall.

Izzard plays Puritan farmer Thomas Putnam, the deeply conservative patriarch of the Putnam family. He is an important figure in Salem Village, but his time at the top may be short lived if he isn’t careful. Challenges come from all sides and he must be prepared to fight.

Izzard will star alongside Nadia Alexander, who will portray his bright young daughter, Ann Putnam Jr. Ismenia Mendes, fresh out of Juilliard, will portray Mercy Lewis, a captive servant girl who must rely on inner strength to survive.

The series is being co-written by Kohan, Bruce Miller and Tracy Miller and directed by Gus Van Sant. Production on the pilot is set to begin in Boston sometime this spring.

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