Sean Penn Hulu Series ‘The First’ Gets Premiere Date

Sean Penn will be appearing in his first starring role in a television series when The First premieres on Hulu on September 14. Although Penn has spent most of his career making movies, he has numerous television credits, including two episodes of Friends. However until now, he has never taken on a prominent recurring role for television, having previously cited he didn’t like the idea of being tied down long-term to one thing, but being a limited eight-episode series, The First was more appealing to him.

Penn will co-star with Natasha McElhone, who recently left the series Designated Survivor, and is widely known for her roles in Californication and The Truman Show. Her role is described as an Elon Musk cross with Jeff Bezos, who also happens to be a single mother to twins with a chaotic kitchen. That side of her character isn’t explored much, however, and the focus is more on the driven work side of her.

“Beau doesn’t go into any of that. There is no scene that is interested in drawing on gender stereotypes. It’s titrated, pared-down, and specific. He doesn’t waste time or story.”

Joining the cast, according to IMDB, will be Lisa Gay Hamilton from The Practice and The Soloist, James Ransone, Oded Fehr, Brian Lee Franklin, and a host of notable character actors. The series was written by Beau Willimon, whose credits include creating and writing the Netflix version of House of Cards, and Mary Queen of Scots. Willimon was also the executive producer, with Jordan Tappin serving as his producing partner according to Deadline.

The story revolves around the first human mission to Mars, according to Space. The First takes a look at not only what the scientists and astronauts are going through to make the mission possible, but the collateral impact on their families and relationships. McElhone told Vanity Fair that she spent her time preparing for the role scouring whatever she could find on space travel, and meeting real astronauts to pick their brains and see things from their perspective. Some of it is about the nuts and bolts of making interplanetary travel work and the tech side, but the story mostly focuses on people. In his Deadline interview, Willimon echoed the same sentiment.

“It’s a story about the human spirit. About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons. About people working toward the greatest pioneering achievement in human history. And about the cost of that vision, the danger and sacrifice – emotional, psychological, and physical – that’s required to achieve it. How ordinary, imperfect people band together and overcome a myriad of obstacles to grasp the extraordinary.”

While no reviews from early viewings of the series are available at this time, the teasers Hulu has released appear to be getting good buzz on social media. With the show’s release date falling on a Friday, it falls into a traditional “weekend binge” release slot. The show is owned by Westward Productions.

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