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Sean Penn joins Hulu series from House of Cards creator

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Sean Penn is beaming up to television for his first headlining series role. The two-time Oscar winner 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 show, which received a straight-to-series order, is set in the near future and follows humanity’s first mission to Mars as they take the first steps toward interplanetary colonization. Penn’s role is being kept under wraps for the time being, but The First will focus on the astronauts, their loved ones, and the ground team on Earth.

Series creator Willimon will executive-produce the drama with Jordan Tappis. “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.”

Angela Weiss/Getty Images

While Penn has made appearances on Two and a Half Men, Friends, Ellen, and Little House on the Prairie (his first credited gig), this marks his biggest foray into the medium. He was announced to star as Andrew Jackson in HBO’s American Lion biopic, but the project hit a snag last year when director Phillip Noyce bowed out of the series, reportedly over disagreements with the depiction of Jackson’s more unflattering policies. Updates have been scarce since.

Penn recently voiced himself on Fox’s Family Guy and a character in The Angry Birds Movie, and he’ll be seen opposite Mel Gibson and Natalie Dormer in The Professor and the Madman. He also directed Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem in 2016’s The Last Face.

The news of his casting comes after Hulu received 10 Emmy wins at the awards ceremony this past Sunday, including best original drama and best actress in a drama for The Handmaid’s Tale.

The First will premiere on Hulu in the U.S. and on Channel 4 in the U.K. and Ireland.