For The Walking Dead’s lead role of Rick Grimes, British actor Andrew Lincoln donned a quasi-American accent, grew out all the hair on his head and face, and has bounced between normal and crazy for the past five seasons. And now we know who’ll be going through a somewhat similar process in leading the zombie drama’s spinoff pilot, as Gang Related star Cliff Curtis has signed on in this new fight for survival.

In the spinoff, which is going by the codename Cobalt, the New Zealand-born Curtis will play Sean Cabrera, an ex-gym teacher who will presumably not use his dodge ball instructional skills in the war on walkers, although I guess rope climbing would be a good talent to have in certain situations. With a flower-child ex-wife named Andrea – but not that Andrea – Cliff has a son named Cody who is as smart as he is a renegade, and he’s known as the angriest kid in town. (Sounds pretty close to Rick’s son Carl, who is known as the worst teenager in town and also the entirety of existence.)

For its female lead of guidance counselor Nancy Tomkins, the pilot recently looked at former Fringe star Anna Torv, but she’s reportedly no longer in contention, according to THR. Nancy’s children were recently cast, however, and Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) will play the dysfunctional son Nick and Alycia Debnam Carey will star as ambitious daughter Ashley.

The Walking Dead comic creator Robert Kirkman co-wrote the script for this spinoff with Sons of Anarchy writer/producer Dave Erickson, who will serve as a showrunner assuming it gets ordered to series. (And if it doesn’t, that means it was terrible, as AMC would be crazy to keep this away from the hordes of people who watch The Walking Dead on a weekly basis.) This particular duo, with director Adam Davidson (Hell on Wheels), should give this project an initial jolt of drama that the flagship series isn’t very consistent with.

We have so many questions about Cobalt, including the meaning behind that name. Will these characters also refer to the undead as walkers? Will they be holed up in one location or will they seek safety in constant movement? And most important, which one will be the Daryl character?

Cliff Curtis has had memorable film roles in features like Three Kings, Blow and Live Free or Die Hard. But it’s been in recent years that he’s moved onto the small screen more and more, starring in the drama Trauma and the dramatic thriller Missing. You can see him with completely hair-free face below, but you just know that’s going to change once he’s running around the post-apocalypse.

”missing”

Production on Cobalt is scheduled to begin this winter, with an announcement of its fate coming from AMC soon after.

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