HBO has ordered “Avenue 5,” Armando Iannucci’s space comedy starring Hugh Laurie, to series.
Iannucci, who also created “Veep,” created and executive produces “Avenue 5.” Will Smith, Kevin Loader, Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche also executive produce. HBO ordered the pilot last August.
Per HBO, “Avenue 5” is “a space tourism comedy set 40 years in the future when the solar system is everyone’s oyster. With Hugh Laurie as the Captain, nothing can go wrong. “
Laurie will play Ryan Clark, described as the suave, outwardly confident, controlled, and personable captain of space cruise ship Avenue 5 — the man you want in charge of a crisis.
Josh Gad will play Herman Judd, the billionaire face and name behind Avenue 5 and the whole Judd brand, including hotels, fitness clubs and space tourism. Judd is used to a life of luxury, made his money from holiday resorts and thinks he‘s good at everything else. Terrible at science, he leaves that to the experts he employs to give him the answers he wants.
Zach Woods plays Matt Spencer, head of customer relations for Avenue 5. Despite being a nihilist, Matt is a nice guy who can’t wait to get to the end of his final cruise before promotion to a more senior role on Earth. He has a performance background, but gave up trying to make it as an entertainer years ago.
Nikki Amuka-Bird plays Rav Mulcair, head of Judd Mission Control on Earth. She’s extremely intelligent, but frustrated and exhausted by lack of control. Intense, and slightly odd, Rav is racked with guilt at having sent her two best friends into space in an attempt to fix their failing marriage.
Rebecca Front plays Karen Kelly, a born leader who illicitly boarded Avenue 5 using her sister’s non-transferable ticket. Strong-willed, articulate and likeable, Karen soon finds herself becoming the voice of the passengers, enjoying her newfound power.
Lenora Crichlow plays Billie McEvoy, the second engineer who is young, outspoken, smart and career-focused, but exhausted by responsibility. She loves building and fixing things, and is terrified of dying in space.
Suzy Nakamura plays Iris Kimura, Judd’s right-hand-woman. Straight to the point, sharp and serious, Iris has a very particular sense of humor. Iris is a fixer, there to work out what Judd wants – even if it’s unclear – and make sure it happens while ensuring it doesn’t cause anyone or anything any harm.
Ethan Phillips plays Spike Martin, an elderly space enthusiast and former astronaut. Spike is a grizzled womanizer and heavy drinker. He’s also surprisingly good with kids. Spike thinks he should have a higher status due to his achievements as an astronaut, but not many people know who he is. He often boasts of being the first Canadian to land on Mars, which isn’t strictly true.
Iannucci previously directed and co-wrote the 2009 film “In the Loop,” which was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay, and 2017’s “Death of Stalin.” Like “Veep,” these were political satires. Iannucci is repped by CAA.