“I’m calling the shots,” the series’ lead actress (and producer, alongside Oscar-winning Argo duo George Clooney and Grant Heslov) tells a helpless man who crosses her path in the Showtime dramedy’s just-released preview (above), before promptly slapping him across the face. Later, she fires a shotgun toward a yacht, and finds herself scrubbing blood from a tile floor.
So, what inspires her descent into madness? Judging by the clip, it all begins when Orlando water park employee Krystal Stubbs’ (Dunst) is conned into hawking products for pyramid-schemer Obie Garbeau II (Ted Levine) and his cult-like organization, the Founders American Merchandise, in 1992. Soon after, Krystal cons her way up through the lucrative group’s ranks, developing a tangled relationship with FAM’s loyal followers — an act that proves potentially catastrophic for her personal relationships, including with her boss, Ernie (Mel Rodriguez) and his wife (Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto).
The resulting journey — which also sees unexpected appearances from Big Little Lies‘ Alexander Skarsgård and Mary Steenburgen — includes unexpected stops, punctuated by wild pelicans, fantastical, neon-colored ball pits (yes, like the one inside your local Chuck E. Cheese), the transportation of infants atop hot pink ATVs, and lots of smoking.
“You are a demon,” an exasperated Garbeau tells Krystal near the end of the trailer. “No,” she responds. “I’m a businessman.”
“She’s [a badass], but she becomes that,” the 37-year-old Virgin Suicides actress previously told EW of the series, which had yet to begin filming at the time. “It’s going to be one of the most fun roles I’ve ever played…. It’s a great pilot!”
Oscar-nominated The Favourite filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos was originally set to direct the series, though EW confirmed in June that the Greek filmmaker no longer had ties to the project. The One I Love‘s Charlie McDowell helmed the pilot episode in Lanthimos’ place.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida — also starring Théodore Pellerin and Julie Benz — premieres Aug. 25 at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Watch the show’s first full-length preview above, and see the new poster below.