Sean Penn to Star in Beau Willimon Sci-Fi Series ‘The First’ on Hulu

Role will mark the actor’s first foray into television

Sean Penn
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Sean Penn will be making his first foray into series television thanks to a starring role in “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon’s upcoming sci-fi drama “The First.”

The series, which will premiere on Hulu in the U.S. and Channel 4 in the U.K. and Ireland, follows the first human mission to Mars in the not-too-distant future.

The character drama focuses on the astronauts who embark on the mission but also their families, loved ones and the people participating back on Earth. It also hopes to explore the challenges that go into interplanetary colonization.

It was given a straight-to-series order on both Hulu and Channel 4.

The particulars of Penn’s role are being kept under wraps.

“I have such deep admiration for Sean’s immense talent and extraordinary body of work,” Willimon said in a statement. “I feel very lucky to be collaborating with an artist of his caliber.”

Penn, a two-time Oscar winner for his performances in “Mystic River” and “Milk,” has been relatively absent from film, with credits in “The Angry Birds Movie,” a few short films and “The Gunman” since 2013. He’s since been putting his time into activism and journalism projects like interviewing El Chapo.

“The First” is set to go into production this year and will debut sometime in 2018.

Willimon and Jordan Tappis, from Westward Productions, are executive producing.

Westward owns and will produce the series, which is co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4, IMG and AG Studios. IMG will handle all international rights.