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Steve Zahn And Romany Malco Join The Shield Creator's Intense New Thriller

With its most recent Pilot Season currently taking viewers’ votes, Amazon Studios is quickly putting the pieces together for its next set of potential series. The Shield creator Shawn Ryan’s U.S. adaptation of the British psychological thriller Mad Dogs is one of those pilots, and it has locked down a good part of its friendly main cast, bringing in Think Like a Man Too’s Romany Malco, Treme’s Steve Zahn and British actor Ben Chaplin, who also starred in the original. Rest assured Mad Dogs will take these actors into some pretty wild directions, as Shawn Ryan series are known for larger-than-life consequences.

The darkly comedic tale involves four former frat brothers who take a trip out to Belize to reunite with an affluent college friend. What sounds like a picturesque vacation quickly enters a downward and deadly spiral where anything that can go wrong does go wrong. It’s like this show was inspired by my Charlie Brownish life, with 100% more Belize, psycho gang leaders and conspiracies.

Cobi (Zahn) is a comical 40-something financial adviser who tries too hard to act below his age by highlighting his hair and adapting an “Abercrombie style,” according to THR. Gus (Malco), a struggling antiques dealer, lost his career as an attorney in a malpractice lawsuit, and is currently on the wrong end of a divorce, which is damaging his relationship with his teen daughters. Joel (Chaplin) is the oldest guy in the group, with a personality that sounds manic-depressive, as he can be very funny but is also quick to get angry and melancholy. Here’s a shot of Chaplin from the miniseries World Without End, so you’ve got his image in your brain.


Cobi’s wife Helena was Joel’s old flame, and he’s also not in touch with his wife and kids, which makes this guy sound like a real put-together hombre. There are two main characters left to cast: the as-yet-undescribed Lex, and Milo, the wealthy friend living in Belize, whose fate hangs in the balance.

Ryan originally had Mad Dogs set up with FX, but took the Amazon deal when it came along. Cris Cole, the creator of the original series, wrote the script for this version and will be executive producing along with Ryan. Charles McDougall (The Office, House of Cards) will be handling directorial duties.

All in all, these are solid actors for a series of this fashion, where the characters aren’t major badasses but simply dudes trying to get the hell out of harm’s way. Malco did that for a few years on Showtime’s Weeds, and is now in the Kevin Hart game, co-starring with the actor in the BET spoof series Real Husbands of Hollywood and ABC’s recent comedy pilot Keep It Together. Zahn, who’s got an upcoming spot on Modern Family this season, was most recently in Dallas Buyers Club on the big screen and ABC’s shortlived Mind Games on the small screen. Chaplin recently guest-starred on an episode of HBO's Doll & Em, and has upcoming roles in Disney’s live-action Cinderella, Alejandro Monteverde’s ensemble comedic drama Little Boy and Clement Virgo’s historical drama The Book of Negroes.

Will Mad Dogs be good enough to make it to a full series? Discover and vote for yourself when Amazon debuts its next Pilot Season.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.