Back in May, Amazon Prime Video officially picked up the Panic pilot, based on Lauren Oliver‘s novel of the same name, for a full series order. The series marks Amazon’s first foray into YA, but the studio is making some changes along that way.
The show follows several high school seniors who sign up for an annual illegal and very dangerous, life-risking “game” to win a large amount of money that could change their lives and, for some of them, escape their droll town. Each has their our reason to seek out the money and as the competition goes on, they get increasingly desperate to win.
Panic is recasting three roles, two of which are main characters.
Camron Jones (Grown-ish) will take over the role of Bishop Marks, the straight-laced, “good guy” friend of Heather (Olivia Welch) with a bright future ahead of him whose sunny outlook is seriously tested by this year’s competition. Kevin Alves (Shadowhunters) played the role in the pilot. Jessica Sula (Skins) will take over the beefed-up role of Natalie Velez, Heather’s best friend turned fellow competitor, from the pilot’s casting of Ashley Sharpe Chestnut (Homeland).
Meanwhile, the role of Sheriff Kean–who is singularly focused on stopping the occasionally deadly game– will now be played by Enrique Murciano (Bloodline), who replaces Will Chase (Sharp Objects).
It’s unknown at this time exactly what caused the changes. Amazon may have felt that the actors weren’t a good fit after all, but it’s also quite possible that the actors have moved on to other projects, given that the pilot filmed several months ago. The changes don’t spell doom for the project either way, as recasting after a pilot is pretty normal. According to Deadline, who first announced this news, filming is set to begin before the end of the month in Texas.
The series also cast four new recurring cast members: Bonnie Bedelia (Parenthood) will play Anne, a woman who employs Heather on her out-of-the-ordinary farm and provides some sage guidance. Moira Kelly (One Tree Hill) will play Sheriff Kean’s wife Laura, who is reeling from the loss of her own child. Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life) will play the single mother of Dodge (Mike Faist) who desperately seeks justice for her daughter after she was grievously injured in a hit-and-run. Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Heather’s mother Sherri, a young mother who struggles with addiction and doesn’t really know how to be a parent to her children.
Whew! That’s a lot of casting, but the series is really coming together now!