The two-time Oscar victor will star in The First, a new Hulu original drama created by Beau Willimon, the mastermind behind the Netflix awards darling House of Cards. The First promises to explore the different challenges associated with attempting interplanetary colonization.
The First, which will go into production later this year, is owned and produced by Westward Productions, founded by Willimon and Tappis, and co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4, IMG and AG Studios.
While Penn's role has not been officially disclosed, Penn's character, reportedly named Tom Haggerty, could be a former NASA astronaut involved in the project.
Series creator Willimon will executive-produce the drama with Jordan Tappis.
UConn students to rally against GOP budget
Eighty-five school districts will lose all of their state Education Cost Sharing funding and another 54 would see reduced funding. Hours earlier, on Friday afternoon, the plan passed in the Senate on a 21-15 vote, stunning the political establishment.
Sean Penn (Milk, 21 Grams) is going to make his small screen debut as a TV series regular.
"I have such deep admiration for Sean's enormous talent and extraordinary body of work", Willimon said in a statement.
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. Penn will be honored next month with a career tribute at the Mill Valley Film Festival.
"The Handmaid's Tale" picked up eight Emmy wins this year, including best drama, making Hulu is the first streaming network to pick up the big prize. "The First" will premiere on Hulu in the USA and on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
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