Newcomer Devon Terrell stars in Steve McQueen’s somewhat secretive HBO project, titled “Codes of Conduct,” which, announced today, HBO has moved beyond the pilot stage (meaning, they must have liked what they’ve seen of it thus far), and has given just a 6-episode series order to. Not many, but it may be a one-time mini-series, 6 hours long in total, and not an ongoing annual show.
Although, I would assume that if it’s a huge success for the network, there just might be a second series, similar to how HBO handled “True Detective,” which was initially ordered to just an 8-episode series.
An exploration of a young African American man’s experience entering New York high society, with a past that may not be what it seems, Terrell will play a character named Beverly Snow – a talented, confident young man from Queens, NY, who, with a chameleon-like ability, breaks into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of social mobility.
And as is common practice in the biz, it’s been reductively tagged as “Six Degrees Of Separation” meets “Shame.” So do with that what you will. I’d throw in Wendell B. Harris’ “Chameleon Street” into the mix as well.
On Terrell’s casting, McQueen shared the following: “I needed to find an extraordinary actor… Although you’re trying to find something you recognize, it’s more about finding something you’re surprised by. Devon had this quality. It was no easy task casting the character of Beverly Snow and, with the help of HBO, we left no stone unturned. This was a 10-month intense process in which we came across many talented actors, but only one Beverly.”
A little about Terrell: The California-born, Perth, Australia-raised actor studied acting at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, where he was later accepted into Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2011, where he’s been developing his craft since. He doesn’t even have any IMDB credits yet, so this should certainly put him in the spotlight. It’s quite a coup to land what will likely be a rather high profile project, almost right out of school.
And kudos to McQueen for casting a complete unknown, and giving him the opportunity. I’m sure every young black actor in Hollywood was looked at for the part. As you should recall, he did the same in casting the then relatively-unknown Lupita Nyong’o 2013’s “12 Years a Slave” – a role for which she won the highest honor an actor can be awarded in this country.
So, say hello to Devon Terrell.
McQueen is penning the script for “Codes of Conduct.” with “World War Z” co-writer Matthew Michael Carnahan. Russell Simmons (yes, that Russell Simmons), and the Oscar-winning producers of “The King’s Speech,” Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, are co-producing.