It’s hard to believe it has been nearly four years since Weeds ended its lengthy run on Showtime. In the time since, Weeds lead Mary-Louise Parker has kept busy, trying for her own network shows and most recently taking a short stint on NBC’s popular series The Blacklist last season. Now, it looks like she’s heading back to TV in a much bigger capacity, taking the lead in ABC’s upcoming event series When We Rise, along with a few other prominent names.
When We Rise is actually a period drama, picking up in 1969 during the rise of the gay rights movement in the United States. The series will pick up with the Stonewall Riots and lead into the years following, where we will meet civil rights activists like Cleve Jones, Roma Guy and more. In the series, Mary-Louise Parker is set to play Roma Guy, the co-founder of the San Francisco Women’s Building
The drama is coming from Dustin Lance Black, who penned Milk back in 2008, and is also responsible for writing J. Edgar, along with episodes of Big Love. According to Variety, he’s teaming up with Gus Van Sant for When We Rise; the two formerly worked together on Milk. Van Sant is set to direct the premiere episode of the miniseries. Seven episodes in total will be produced, with the premiere running two hours and subsequent episodes running one hour.
Also cast in When We Rise are Rachel Griffiths and Guy Pearce. The former is going to play Roma Guy’s wife, Diane, who also co-founded the Women’s Building. Pearce is signed on to play famed civil rights activist Cleve Jones, who is famous for founding the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. (He is also a character in Milk, and is portrayed by Emile Hirsch in that movie.)
Other roles in the project include younger versions of the aforementioned characters, who will be played by Austin McKenzie, Emily Skeggs and Fiona Dourif. Still set to be cast ar Ken Jones, a prominent figure in the black community, and Cecelia Chung, an early transgender activist.
ABC has already signed on for When We Rise, which is either being billed as a miniseries or an event series, although the latter have been known to get further seasons should they do well. (Here’s looking at you, Wayward Pines or Agent Carter.) We'll let you know as soon as the series is added to the schedule, presumably for the 2016-2017 season.