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Starz Watergate Drama Casts Chris Messina, Chris Bauer, and More


In the continuing neverending list of Watergate projects in development, Starz’s own drama series Gaslit has just announced several new cast members, including Allison Tolman, J.C. MacKenzie, Chris Bauer, Hamish Linklater, and Chris Messina.

Julia Roberts and Sean Penn have already been cast in lead roles. The series was created and executive produced by Robbie Pickering, the producer behind Mr. Robot and Search Party. He will be joined by executive producers Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and producer Chad Hamilton, as well as Captain Fantastic writer-director Matt Ross.

The series will specifically follow Martha Mitchell’s role in exposing the Watergate scandal, who will be played by Roberts. Mitchell was a socialite and wife to Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, who will be played by Penn. She was the first person to publicly declare Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, which caused her personal life to unravel as well. Forced to choose between his wife and his president, A.G. Mitchell is faced with a compromising decision.

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Tolman has been cast as Winnie McLendon, a D.C. journalist who becomes embroiled in the scandal, and eventually becomes Mitchell’s biographer. MacKenzie will play Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent who collaborated with Nixon’s “Plumbers” unit to help them execute the Watergate break-in. Bauer is set to star as James McCord, another former CIA operative who served as the head of security for John and Martha Mitchell. Linklater has been cast as Jeb Magruder, a D.C. bureaucrat who was involved in the Watergate robbery and ultimately went to jail. Finally, Messina will play FBI Agent Angelo Lano, tasked with discovering who was behind the Watergate break-in.

The series is based on the acclaimed Slate podcast Slow Burn, in which each season breaks down a political or pop culture scandal in depth. The first season focused on Watergate, and premiered back in 2017. Epix actually snapped up the rights to the podcast in 2019, which they turned into a six-part documentary that aired a year later. Gaslit will therefore be the second adaptation of the podcast, as well as one of the several Watergate projects currently in development. HBO has their own series shooting at the moment — The White House Plumbers. It is a limited series about how the botched burglary was designed and executed by Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux.

The White House Plumbers is currently filming, but Gaslit does not yet have a release date. Based on recent casting news, it should start heading to production shortly, which means we’ll have some competing Watergate shows to choose from, either later this year or in 2022.

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