Sean Penn is boldly going where he has rarely gone before: television.
In what represents the two-time Oscar winner’s most significant foray into TV, Penn has signed on to star in The First, Hulu’s forthcoming Mars-themed drama series from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon.
Set in the near future, The First will follow the first human mission to Mars, while exploring the challenges of taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization. The project — which received a straight-to-series order from Hulu earlier this year — focuses not only on the astronauts, but also on their families and loved ones, as well as the ground team on Earth.
“I have such deep admiration for Sean’s immense talent and extraordinary body of work,” said Willimon in a statement. “I feel very lucky to be collaborating with an artist of his caliber.”
Penn’s previous TV credits have mostly been confined to sitcom guest appearances (Friends, Two and a Half Men, Ellen), although he recently wrapped production on the HBO miniseries American Lion, in which he stars as President Andrew Jackson.
Willimon created The First and will serve as EP alongside his Westward Productions partner Jordan Tappis. IMG will handle all international rights.
The First is slated to premiere on Hulu in 2018.