Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

By Nate Millado

Step into the light, Clarice! If you don't know Rebecca Breeds, you will soon. The Aussie actress is tackling the iconic role of Clarice Starling in CBS' highly anticipated The Silence of the Lambs spinoff series Clarice (from acclaimed executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet). Here's everything you need to know about the rising star.

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Clarice premieres Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

She's from Down Under

\u200bRebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in Clarice.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

Born in Sydney, Rebecca Breeds got bitten by the acting bug early on. She attended St. Andrews Cathedral School, where she earned the title of Drama Captain, and enrolled at the University of New South Wales to pursue a dual degree in music and performing arts. Following a string of TV commercials, Breeds landed her first lead role in the 2008 Australian film Newcastle. After a stint on Blue Water High she got her big break: The Aussie soap Home and Away.

She's vamped it up

Breeds sunk her teeth into the role of 1,000-year-old vampire Aurora de Martel on The CW's The Originals, a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries. She also had a recurring role as Nicole Gordon on the teen mystery thriller Pretty Little Liars.

She has a funny bone

Clarice Starling is a pretty intense role, but back in 2013, Breeds got to lighten up as Abby Russo on the CBS sitcom We Are Men. And talk about full-circle: Breeds reunites with her former Men co-star Kal Penn on Clarice!

And she writes!

The multi-hyphenate recently wrapped production on her short film AIR, which she wrote, produced, and stars in. The quirky rom-com centers on a woman who uses her Airbnb business to meet people.

She's a proud dog mom

Scroll through her 'Gram and you'll see tons of ka-yute posts about her cockapoo, Alfie! The pup even makes a cameo as "Doug" the dog in Mom's short film AIR.

She married her co-star

Breeds met her hubby, actor Luke Mitchell, on the set of Home and Away. Life imitated art when an on-screen hookup led to an off-screen romance. She recently commemorated their eighth wedding anniversary with a sweet selfie and caption: "8 years. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Into the wild and beyond. đź’«"

She is Clarice

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in CBS' new psychological thriller Clarice.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

When Breeds was cast in the titular "role of a lifetime" of Clarice, she posted "[I] think I've earned myself a nice glass of Chianti"—a cheeky reference to Hannibal Lecter's favorite liver-and-fava-beans wine pairing. And while the iconic cannibal doesn't factor into Clarice's storytelling, you'll get a deep dive into the untold personal story of the FBI Agent as she returns to the field in 1993, a year after the events of the film.

SEE MORE: Hannibal Who? Clarice Dives Deep Into Untold Personal Stories

Clarice premieres Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Photo Credit: Maarten de Boer/NBC Universal/Getty Images.


By Brantley Bardin

What other actor can claim to have played the rangy likes of Kumar Patel, the ultimate stoner horndog of the raunchy Harold & Kumar franchise, the brainy but doomed Dr. Lawrence Kutner of House, as well as White House press secretary Seth Wright of Designated Survivor? Oh, and who also actually worked in D.C. for two years as the Obama administration's associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement? Only the brilliant Kal Penn can.

Actor Kal Penn

Kal Penn as Shaan Tripathi in Clarice.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

Now the New Jersey–born, UCLA-degreed son of Gujarati Indian immigrant parents is stepping into Clarice, CBS' new The Silence of the Lambs–inspired series. As Shaan Tripathi, a former Smithsonian curator turned FBI agent, Penn and a motley crew of cohorts at the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program [ViCAP] will team up with Clarice Starling as she reports back to work just a year after having won notoriety for the gruesome Hannibal the Cannibal case in 1993. "I love this project," says Penn. "Each of the episodes I've read ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, and I'm always like, 'I can't wait to find out what happens next!' So if it's like that for me, that's a good sign it'll be like that for the audience, too."

Originally published in Watch Magazine, January-February 2021.

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Clarice premieres Thursday, Feb.11 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Kal Penn as Shaan Tripathi and Lucca de Oliveira as Tomas Esquivel in Clarice

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

A confession: Horror stories wreck my beauty sleep. So exactly how scary is Clarice?

Well , I find it scary when there are a bunch of dead bodies around. [Laughs.] But so much attention and detail has been put into the show that it's not just scary; it's eerie and disturbing , too. In the pilot it seems as if there's a serial killer involved ... but it's not a procedural, so there's not a new case each week. An unusually layered approach has been taken to telling the story, so Clarice and our ViCAP team will be discovering what's going on as the audience does.

\u200bJohn Cho and Kal Penn pose with White Castle burgers

John Cho and Kal Penn at a Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle movie press event.

Photo Credit: Barry King/Getty Images.

This is all miles away from your gonzo Harold & Kumar character. So tell us: What exactly do people yell your way when they recognize you?

Now, nothing 'cause we're all in masks! [Laughs.] But you never know who watches what. Once I was at a bank, and an old, white-haired lady teller motioned to me as if she was smoking a joint and said, "That Kumar movie is hilarious." I thought, "No way!"

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US First Lady Michelle Obama and actor and former Obama administration aide Kal Penn

US First Lady Michelle Obama and actor and former Obama administration aide Kal Penn.

Photo Credit: Stan Honda/Getty Images.

Hilar. You know, when you left the then-hottest show in the world, House, to work at the White House, Hollywood was shocked.

Well, I had a job in television, so it became an item of interest. The real story is that many people do it: I had co-workers who were taking leaves of absence from factory jobs or being a pediatrician. That's a testimony to how our democracy is a participatory thing , and I really enjoyed it.

Kal Penn in a sage green suit

Photo Credit: Robbie Fimmano/Getty Images.

And I enjoyed your most recent politically focused foray, Kal Penn Approves This Message, which aimed to educate young people and show them actionable steps to take on subjects such as climate change and health care. How'd that come about?

My writing partner and I wanted to do something that didn't pit facts against opinions like cable news shows do—we wanted to be inclusive and positive. I mean, most young people, including evangelical ones who rarely get credit, understand that climate change and science are real, so how could we help them all work together?

Kal Penn attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Kal Penn attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

By doing Kal Penn Approves..., of course. By the way, your cheeky hosting style on the show was as close to stand-up as I think you've ever done.

Thank you! I never did stand-up, but growing up I watched a lot of it along with sketch comedy. I was enamored with Margaret Cho, John Leguizamo, In Living Color, and Kids in the Hall. Comedy is such a great unifier, especially now in this polarizing climate. You can still laugh with your friends. Or enemies. Whatever the case may be. [Laughs.]

WATCH: The Official Clarice Trailer

Though now you'll be scaring us to death with Clarice. Convince me to be brave and watch it.

It's gripping , it's binge-able, and you can watch it multiple times and discover new things. There's a weird darkness to it, but there are also moments of joy, and they're interwoven in a way that's been really riveting to work on. It's going to be exceptional network television.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, January-February 2021.

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Clarice premieres Thursday Feb. 11 10/9c on CBS and CBS ALL Access.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.


By Fred Schruers

After talking a bit with the buoyant and witty Jenny Lumet, co-creator of the upcoming Clarice, you'd hardly call her a malcontent. But she does issue the occasional warning: "I'm the feminist chick you want to sit next to at dinner—just not for too long."

That said, her brand of spiky energy can prove very useful. When writer-director Alex Kurtzman brought her on to collaborate with him on the 2017 Tom Cruise–starring iteration of The Mummy, her take was to make the key villain female. Through a rocky ride of later revisions and a shaky reception, the gender change survived as a smart call.

A stark black and white portrait of Clarice showrunner and producer Jenny Lumet

Clarice showrunner and producer Jenny Lumet.

Photo Credit: Amanda Guinzburg/CBS.

Et voilà, here comes another feminist chick ready to do battle—for much higher, if fictional, stakes. Lumet (also executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery) and Kurtzman have a project they dreamed up in the service of a shared passion—the saga of fledgling FBI investigator Clarice Starling , as chronicled in the bestselling novels of Thomas Harris and brought memorably to the big screen by Jonathan Demme in The Silence of the Lambs.

The series will zoom in on Clarice's life a few months after the events of the film. As much as she loved the movie, Lumet always wondered where the "Attagirl!" was for the heroine. "The guys around her, and the villain, got so much exploration," she says, "and I thought, Yeah, she's the one who's actually victorious—Persephone marched down into Hades and slew all the dragons."

Lucca de Oliveira as Tomas Esquivel and Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in Clarice.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

Lumet remembers signal moments in the Demme gem—encounters with bug experts, local cops, the weaselly Dr. Chilton, even her bureau boss—where the female neophyte agent from rural West Virginia must take command of the hunt. "That part is the negotiation that every female on the planet has to go through every five minutes—the [cultural] code switch. As an African American, a woman, I know about that," says Lumet, who has a prestigious pedigree as the daughter of esteemed director Sidney Lumet and granddaughter of showbiz icon Lena Horne.

Rebecca Breeds in Clarice

Rebecca Breeds plays the titular role in Clarice.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/CBS.

The Clarice team has assembled a writers room comprising young White, Asian, and African American writers to bring forth the unknown patches in Clarice's story, which Harris himself granted leave to explore. "I want to know what she's been thinking ," says Lumet, "what she's been doing , what she learns."

Clarice executive producer Alex Kurtzman

Clarice executive producer Alex Kurtzman.

Photo Credit: James Dimmock/CBS.

The series will in effect thank Hannibal Lecter for his service but embark with new villains and a credo, says Lumet, "that horror is more horrible when it could happen to you," using new evildoers "who are grounded, and they're deep."

The story of African American fellow Agent Ardelia Mapp gets the weight and service it deserves. Clarice, says Lumet, "is not a show about, 'I'm going to shoot this guy and go have a drink.' She's a woman who saves women. And what I most appreciate about her is that she keeps refusing to be put in a box."

Sneak Peek: Watch The Official Clarice Trailer

Originally published in Watch Magazine, November-December 2020.

Clarice premieres Feb. 11 at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Queen Latifah.


The Stand

Four images from red carpet appearances by Alexander Skarsg\u00e5rd, Amber Heard, James Marsden, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The Stand cast above from left to right: Alexander SkarsgĂĄrd, Amber Heard, James Marsden, and Whoopi Goldberg

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images (2), Jean Baptiste LaCroix/Getty Images, Prince Williams/Getty Images.

The Plot: After a plague wipes out civilization, the survivors enter a battle between good and evil for the fate of humanity.

The Cast: Alexander SkarsgĂĄrd, Amber Heard, James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg

The Low-Down: Inspired by Stephen King's 1978 epic, The Stand tells a story of survivors at a crossroad. Many fall to the sway of the charming and demonic Randall Flagg (Skarsgård), but a few, inspired by the prophetic Mother Abigail (Goldberg), struggle to do better. The Stand shows that while tragedy might bring out the worst in us, it also brings out the best—and the best is stronger.

The Stand streams exclusively on CBS All Access. New episodes of the limited series drop every Thursday.

Clarice

A red carpet appearance by Rebecca Breeds wearing a flowing leopard print dress and beige heels.

Star of Clarice, Rebecca Breeds

Photo Credit: Richard Milnes/Shutterstock.

The Plot: Six months after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, FBI agent Clarice Starling returns to the field to pursue the worst of the worst.

The Cast: Rebecca Breeds, Kal Penn, Nick Sandow, Michael Cudlitz

The Low-Down: Created by Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Discovery, Hawaii Five-0), this crime drama delves into the personal story of Clarice Starling (Breeds) as she hunts serial killers and sexual predators while navigating the labyrinthine politics of Washington, D.C. Absent entirely is a certain Dr. Lecter, allowing Clarice's brilliance, vulnerability, and unflinching courage to hold the spotlight.

Clarice premieres on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10/9c on CBS and CBS All Access.

B Positive

Annaleigh Ashford and Thomas Middleditch\u200b pose in a friendly domestic way against a grey backdrop. B Positive cast from left to right: Annaleigh Ashford and Thomas Middleditch

Photo Credit: Pamela Littky/Warner Bros.

The Plot: When a newly-divorced dad needs a donor kidney, a familiar face emerges to deliver it...plus some added baggage.

The Cast: Annaleigh Ashford, Thomas Middleditch, Kether Donohue, Sara Rue

The Low-Down: A recent divorce. A failing kidney. Massive bills for both. Single dad Drew (Middleditch) is having a bad year until a chance encounter with Gina (Ashford), a woman from the past who volunteers to donate one of her own. With B Positive, comedy kingpin Chuck Lorre (Young Sheldon) shows how the best things in life can come from the most most unexpected places.

B Positive airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS and streams on CBS All Access.

The Equalizer

\u200bQueen Latifah in a leather jacket

Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall in The Equalizer.

Photo Credit: Michael Greenberg/CBS.

The Plot: A woman with a mysterious past uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn.

The Cast: Queen Latifah, Chris Noth, Lorraine Toussaint, Tory Kittles

The Low-Down: Sometimes we all need someone to throw us a rope. In The Equalizer, that rope just might come with a grappling hook attached and Queen Latifah (Chicago, Bessie) at the other end. In this thrilling reboot by power duo Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller (Castle) of the classic '80s action drama, Latifah plays an enigmatic superspy who saves ordinary people when they're out of other options.

The Equalizer premieres Sunday, Feb. 7 at 10/9c on CBS, immediately following CBS Sports' broadcast of SUPER BOWL LV.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-August 2020.

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