The CW’s Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller is already turning heads for its latest casting choices, with Alexander Hodge slated to play a complicated bartender in the series’ pilot.
Hodge, an Australian actor best known for his role as Andrew aka Asian Bae on the HBO dramedy Insecure, will co-star as Philky, a character described as “ruggedly handsome with long raven hair, ink art on his body, and one born from a strong Chinese lineage,” our sister site Deadline reports. Philky also has a dark past that includes alcoholism and homelessness in Gotham. But now that he’s clean, Philky is using his tech skills to help Khalil/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) while moonlighting inconspicuously as a barkeep.
In addition to Hodge, Painkiller has added actors Sibongile Mlambo (Siren, Lost in Space) and James Roch (The Night Shift) to its cast. Mlambo will co-star as Maya, a strikingly attractive natural leader who is not to be trifled with and expects results. Roch, meanwhile, will portray Cousin Donald, a gentle giant who wears head-to-toe leather in contrast to his uniform in the Marines. Cousin Donald is also a medic and has a duality that helps him better relate to Khalil than most.
Painkiller, a backdoor pilot that will air as the seventh episode of Black Lightning‘s current (and final) fourth season, comes from showrunner Salim Akil, who will also executive-produce, write and direct. Episode 7 is currently being shot, Akil confirmed to TVLine. Calloway, Hodge, Mlambo and Roch will resume their roles if Painkiller lands a series order. (Season 4 of Black Lightning will wrap with 13 episodes.)
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“It’s been a blessing to do what we do,” Akil tells TVLine regarding Black Lightning, while anticipating a future for Painkiller. “Would we like to continue to do it with the Pierces? Yeah, we would. But we’ll create it in another way.”