EXCLUSIVE: Filming has begun on EastSiders creator Kit Williamson’s dark comedy series Unconventional, whose cast is being led by Kit Williamson (Mad Men), Aubrey Peeples (Nashville), James Bland (Insecure) and Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
Developed at The Sundance Lab, the series follows eccentric, queer siblings Noah and Margot Guillory (Williamson and Peeples) and their significant others Dan Charles and Elisa Slate (Bland and Venskus) as they try to start an unconventional family while navigating their thirties, trying to stay sane in an unstable world and, most importantly, trying to hold onto the bonds they share.
Series regulars also include Willam Belli (EastSiders), Constantine Rousouli (Charmed) Laith Ashley (Pose) and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights). Wheeler-Nicholson plays Carolyn Guillory, the conservative matriarch of the family who leaves her home state of Texas after an unexpected tragedy to join her children in the California desert, where she is thrust into the unfamiliar and unapologetically queer world of Palm Springs and Joshua Tree.
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Guest stars include Beau Bridges (Masters Of Sex) as Wayne Guillory, the family’s estranged patriarch; veteran comedian Kathy Griffin as Noah’s acerbic PhD advisor; Tuc Watkins (Black Monday) as Eliza’s obstetrician; Jenna Ushkowitz (Glee) as Noah and Dan’s adoption agent; and Angela E. Gibbs (Hacks) and Tim Russ (Pen15) as Dan’s parents.
Additional guest stars include Beth Grant (The Mindy Project), Stephen Guarino (I’m Dying Up Here), James Urbaniak (For All Mankind), John Halbach (EastSiders), Brooke Seguin (12 Hour Shift), Miranda Bailey (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Quei Tann (How to Get Away with Murder) and Chaunté Wayans (Fifty Shades of Black).
Series regular James Bland serves as a writer, director and producer on the project. Bland previously created and starred in the Emmy-winning series Giants on BET . The writers’ room also included Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift), Trey Anthony (Da Kink In My Hair), producer Larissa James (Eastsiders) and Chad Callaghan. Guest directors will include Bland, Grant, and executive producer Miranda Bailey (Being Frank).
World sales of the series are being handled by ICM Partners and More/Medavoy.
Unconventional heralds from co-financiers and producers Cold Iron Pictures, The Film Arcade and The Money Pool. Nine half-hour episodes have been slated for production.
Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall are executive producers for Cold Iron Pictures, Jason Beck is executive producer for The Film Arcade, Christopher Miller and H. Shen are executive producers for The Money Pool and Erwin More from More/Medavoy is also an executive producer on the series. Casting agent on the series is Amey Rene, of Amey Rene Casting.
“It’s still rare for a TV show to center on the LGBTQ experience,” said Williamson. “Filming this series independently enables us to tell the story on our own terms, and to create opportunities for queer talent. We deserve a more authentic representation in front of and behind the camera.”
Cold Iron Pictures most recently finished production on God’s Country starring Thandiwe Newton. The Film Arcade produced Sundance 2019 documentary The Amazing Johnathan, which was acquired by Hulu. The Money Pool is currently adapting the Mitzy Moon book series for TV.
Kit Williamson recently adapted Lev Rosen’s YA novel Camp as a feature film for HBO Max and is attached to adapt Mercedes Lackey’s bestselling Valdemar novels into a fantasy series for Radar Pictures. His previous series EastSiders began as a web series on YouTube before being acquired by Netflix, winning two Daytime Emmy Awards. He is repped by Buchwald and More/Medavoy.