It’s been fifteen years since Roswell first ended its run on the WB and UPN after a successful three seasons. Now, the CW has good news for fans across the globe - they’re bringing the cult sci-fi series back to life.
Leading the charge that has fans racing to mark their calendars is Lawrence Bender. A producer with decades of some of the world’s favorite films credited to his name, Bender is executive producing the series alongside Kevin Kelly Brown, an EP on the original series, and co-production partners from Amblin TV.
The original Roswell series was developed, produced and co-written by Jason Katims, who has since gone on to create shows including Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, About A Boy and Rise. The show first debuted in October 1999 and continued on until May 2002.
The original series was based on the Roswell High book series for young adults, written by Melinda Metz. The rebooted series will also be based on this source material, but introduces modern twists, including a reflection of the realities of the town’s location in a US state that borders Mexico. Deadline.com has insight into the new plot direction:
“After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, NM, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: He’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.”
The immigration plot threaded throughout the reboot is no surprise coming from Bender, who’s known for delving into political hotbeds through issues such as environmental and racial challenges without hesitation. This is also reflected in upcoming Netflix series Seven Seconds, when an African American boy is injured by a white male cop, causing racial tensions to come to the boil. With Bender’s varied background including Al Gore’s famous and emotive An Inconvenient Truth, it’s no wonder the producer has no qualms about taking on relevant and topical issues, using the power of prime-time entertainment to engage audiences and encourage conversation and education, all whilst delivering a great story at the same time.
Roswell offers exciting opportunities to an ensemble cast and to powerful talent behind the camera. Bender and his producing partners have already released exciting details about the new team that will bring this series to life. Directing the pilot is writer-producer Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals). Although this is Plec’s first time directing a pilot, she brings valuable experience from her work as the creator of hit drama The Originals and her directing work/position as show-runner on The Vampire Diaries.
Just announced as the show’s lead is Jeanine Mason, who’s currently in a recurring role as Dr. Sam Bello on Grey’s Anatomy. Mason will play the role of Liz Ortecho, and is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment and Gang. Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Mason’s career began when she won the fifth season of So You Think You Can dance, and has since gone on to appear in shows including Of Kings And Prophets, Bunheads, You’re The Worst, Awkward, NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI and Big Time Rush. She’s also appeared in films including The Bling Ring, Glassy, Default and The Archer. This is Mason’s first time in a leading role, but her recent work on hit series Grey’s Anatomy has her positioned as a regular and exciting face to millions of viewers worldwide. The role she’s stepping into as lead Liz Ortecho is the 2.0 version of the role originally played by Shiri Appleby in the original Roswell. Appleby is currently playing the lead role of Rachel in drama series Unreal.
More exciting casting news has confirmed an impressive roost of series regulars to play opposite Mason in the Roswell reboot. Confirmed casting includes Nathan Parsons (True Blood), Lily Cowles (BrainDead), and Heather Hemmens (If Loving You Is Wrong). Parsons has been cast in the role of Max, the male lead, whilst Cowles will portray Isobel. Meanwhile, Hemmens will step in as Maria, Liz’s free-spirited former best friend.
Production dates are yet to be announced, but with such a talented cast and crew, fans of the original and new audiences looking to sink their teeth into some first-class sci-fi drama can rest easy knowing the new Roswell will be on their screens soon.
It’s been a huge year for producer Lawrence Bender, whose series Seven Seconds has just completed production before its upcoming launch on Netflix. Seven Seconds is a Netflix Original crime drama that takes place over ten episodes, following those involved in the investigation of the death of a young black male.
Bender first made waves in the industry when he produced Reservoir Dogs in 1992. He’s since worked with Quentin Tarantino on many more of the iconic director’s singular films, producing all of his work to date apart from Death Proof, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. Bender’s also known for his powerful work in the field of documentary films, with 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth premiering at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival before it continued on to win two Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song. Bender’s career so far has seen him honoured with three Academy Award nominations for Best Picture (Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting) amongst countless other awards.
Bender is currently in post-production on his new movie The Widow which is slated for a likely premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September. With Academy Award winner Neil Jordan at the helm in the directing chair, the thriller also brings together Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz. Bender produces alongside James Flynn and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. The film was announced at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.