This Screen Thriller Stars All Your Broadway Favorites

When the Tony-nominated actor Arian Moayed wanted to write, direct and independently produce a new episodic drama-thriller, he turned to his friends and colleagues on Broadway. And Broadway answered the call.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

“Everyone thought we were crazy, but the theater community came to save the day,” explained Moayed (“The Humans,” “Succession”) of his series “The Accidental Wolf,” premiering later this month on the streaming service Topic. Speaking on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast, Moayed noted, “The producer comes from a theater background. Our investors are theater investors. I was asking every single person that I knew from theater if they would come and do this, and the community came together.”

It shows in the final product, which began life as a series of web shorts before getting picked up by Topic in an expanded form bolstered by new footage. Theater fans will probably recognize every actor with a speaking role in “Accidental Wolf”: not just Kelli O’Hara, who plays the protagonist, but also Judith Ivey, Sahr Ngaujah, Denis O’Hare, Laurie Metcalf and Brandon J. Dirden, among many others — not to mention Moayed’s co-stars in “The Humans,” Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Sarah Steele and Cassie Beck.

The story, about a wealthy New Yorker (O’Hara) whose perfect life is upturned by a mysterious phone call, has become even more timely than it was back when Moayed first began working on the project. “When we finished filming Season 1, we had this thriller about finding a vaccine, and privilege, and the #MeToo movement, prior to all of those things really being in our vocabulary,” Moayed said.

“The prescient-ness of something you never know,” he added. “But … I feel like we as a theater community are always on the ground, hearing what’s happening, prior to when it’s happening on a national level. Tapping into that, and writing for that, led us to believe that [this story] has a big scale.”

Also on the new Stagecraft, Moayed revealed what it’s like working on two TV sets — “Succession” and Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming “Inventing Anna” — in the era of COVID-19 safety protocols, and discussed how Waterwell, the theater company he co-founded, is pivoting to find new forms for its socially-engaged work.

“The Accidental Wolf” premieres on Topic Nov. 26.

To hear to the full conversation, listen at the link above, or download and subscribe to Stagecraft on podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and the Broadway Podcast Network. New episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.

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