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DMZ TV Series Takes Shape with New Cast and Character Announcements

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DMZ, the HBO Max event series based on Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s iconic Vertigo comic, is taking shape, with the addition of nine additional cast members and the characters they’ll play. In addition, the behind-the-scenes creative team has expanded to include two new award-winning producers.

DMZ depicts the narrative of a near-future America engulfed in a violent civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarised zone (DMZ) that is wrecked and separated from the rest of the globe, executive produced by Roberto Patino (Westworld) and celebrated filmmaker Ava DuVernay. The four-part series follows Alma Ortega (Rosario Dawson), a bold and tough physician who sets out to find her son who was lost in the evacuation of New York City at the start of the war. Parco Delgado (Benjamin Bratt), the popular—and deadly—leader of one of the DMZ’s most powerful gangs, is fanning the fires of that battle. Delgado aspires to be the ruler of this new universe, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Along with the already announced Dawson and Bratt, HBO Max unveiled nine new cast members today, along with some intriguing character descriptions.

  • Venus Ariel Nico, a foul-mouthed scavenger with a penchant for mischief, will be played by (NCIS: New Orleans) in a series of regular roles. 
  • Rutina Wesley (Queen Sugar, True Blood) will play Athena, a deft agent for the separatist Free States of America—and the most powerful power broker in the DMZ that no one knows about… 
  • Nora Dunn Oona (The Big Leap, Home Economics) will play a near-mythical figure who oversees an all-female commune as well as the most valuable currency in the DMZ: the water supply.
  • Jade Wu Susie (Marvel’s Luke Cage, For Life) will play a revolutionary who has learned that the best of humanity can be uncovered in the worst of times.
  • Rey Gallegos Cesar, a brutal and dedicated consigliere who would stop at nothing to secure his gang’s control in the DMZ, will be played by (Animal Kingdom). 
  • Mamie Gummer Rose (True Detective) will play a jaded medic who, no matter what the cost, selflessly cares for the ailing and injured of this disenfranchised community.
  • Agam Darshi Franklin, one of the only smugglers who can get someone in or out of the DMZ, will be played by (Funny Boy). 
  • Juani Feliz Carmen, the daring and feisty companion of the DMZ’s biggest villain, and a crucial source of power and community in her native Spanish Harlem has been cast.
  • Henry G. Sanders Cedric (Queen Sugar) is a straight-shooting DMZ citizen whose only concern is the safety of his grandson…

Top row, l-r: Rutina Wesley, Rey Gallegos, Mamie Gummer; bottom row, l-r: Agam Darshi, Nora Dunn, Jade Wu

In addition, three previously confirmed supporting characters have been given fresh descriptions by HBO Max.

  • Hoon Lee (Banshee, Warrior) is Wilson, an unflinching warlord with swagger to match who rules over the prosperous neighborhood of Chinatown. His only rival for domination comes from Spanish Harlem. 
  • Jordan Preston Carter (The Haves and the Have Nots) is the orphaned child of war Odi, an old soul with a curiosity that yearns for the world outside. 
  • Freddy Miyares (When They See Us, The L Word: Generation Q) is Skel, the ruthless triggerman of one of the DMZ’s most powerful gangs. He is also a talented graffiti artist with a profound passion for art, which serves as his lasting connection to his humanity in a world where survival is predicated on power.

Patino wrote the DMZ pilot episode, which was directed by DuVernay. The final three episodes will be directed by acclaimed director Ernest Dickerson, who will also act as executive producer, it was announced today. Dickerson, who debuted as a director with Tupac Shakur’s Juice in 1992, is no stranger to television, having helmed episodes of The Walking Dead, Bosch, Godfather of Harlem, and Dexter, to name a few. Carly Wray (Watchmen, Westworld) was also announced to be joining the series’ writing team as well as serving as co-executive producer.

The DMZ comic was published for 72 issues from 2005 until 2012. The series followed Matty Roth, a teenage photojournalist sent to cover life in Manhattan during a second American civil war between the US government and the Free States of America, a loose confederation of militias from around the country. The two troops declare Manhattan to be a neutral demilitarized zone after fighting each other to a halt. The HBO Max adaptation promises to maintain the comic’s core premise while modernizing some of the characters and unique settings to fit today’s life and cultural milieu. The series’ politeness, on the other hand, appears to be unaffected.

DMZ is produced with DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television. While we don’t yet know when DMZ will be debuting, when it does it will be a part of a small screen Vertigo renaissance, with both Lucifer and Sweet Tooth finding recent critical and popular success at Netflix and Y: The Last Man and The Sandman soon set to make their TV debut.

The DMZ series is shaping up, but we want to know what you think! Are you excited for it to hit HBO Max? Have you read the comic series? Let us know all your thoughts on DMZ right now in the DC Community!

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