Pilot Casting Changes Gone Wrong: ‘Heroes’ Illusionist subs in on CW’s ‘Reaper’

I have yet to see the pilot for The CW’s Reaper, but I will refer to people that have to help me make my point. The titular Brill and Eric of the Brill And Eric Watch TV Podcast had a ‘preview’ of Reaper and pointed out that they hoped that changes wouldn’t mess with the show’s formula. Specifically, they felt that the series’ female lead was different than the usual CW brand of ditzy female bimbos. Well, maybe not in so many words. And they also foreshadowed that some recasting might be in order.

And their prophecy has become correct: Nikki Reed, originally cast as the love interest for Bret Harrison, has been replaced by ‘Heroes’ alum Missy Peregrym, who played…”illusionist” Candice, according to the Hollywood Reporter. If people want to tell me exactly what to call her, feel free to do so. Regardless, I am OUTRAGED at this development for a few reasons. On a smaller note, before I get to the big ones, Reed would have been close to her character’s purported age of about 21. Peregrym, meanwhile, is 25. But that’s just a quibble. Here are the two main reasons:

1. Nikki Reed is Awesome

An independent film darling, and writer of hit drama ‘Thirteen’, Nikki Reed expanded into the world of popular television (My world, apparently) by appearing in The O.C.’s unfortunate third season as a love interest for Ryan while Marissa was off being a whore with Johnny. Maybe it was just that comparison, but Reed was absolutely charming. She was mature, she was attractive, she was engaging, and she was perhaps my favourite pairing for Ryan before Taylor came along. She brought real characterization to a painfully underwritten character, and her acting chops showed.

2. Missy Peregrym Isn’t a Good Actress

She’s not terrible, but Peregrym has done nothing in her two TV roles (ABC’s Life as We Know It and the aforementioned Heroes) to convince me she’s a good actress. She did some engaging work towards the end of Heroes’ first season, specifically in her scenes with Noah Gray Cabey, but on the whole Candice was a boring and not really that entertaining character. And, either way, there was NOTHING within her performance on either show that convinced me she was capable of being an interesting love interest.

Now, it is possible that Peregrym could surprise me, but she has proven unable of being anything but boring when it comes to human interaction. Reaper looks like a quirky drama capable of being something quite engaging: I think Reed was likely able to rise to that occasion, but I feel that Peregrym is only going to grind that quality to a halt when she appears on screen.

Either way, I can only hope that this decision doesn’t come back to hurt the show in the end. But I am of little faith, and unfortunately, The CW might have another mindless and unfortunate female lead in its future.

4 Comments

Filed under Heroes, Reaper, Television, The CW

4 responses to “Pilot Casting Changes Gone Wrong: ‘Heroes’ Illusionist subs in on CW’s ‘Reaper’

  1. Pingback: Tuesday Night Wrapup: Reaper and Ratings Report « Cultural Learnings

  2. Marisa

    I completely agree regarding the recasting – particularly because I saw the original pilot AND the reworked pilot that aired on the CW last week. The original actress fit in with the cast and had much better chemistry with the lead.

    And a minor quibble, but in addition to the new actress being a poor choice – the lead actor got highlights and grew a mustache beteen the two shoots. Going for original scenes to reshot scenes where his highlights and mustache disappeared and reappeared was distracting and really made them look foolish.

  3. Couldn’t agree more Marisa: I noticed the stubble immediately, and even if I hadn’t known that the scenes with Peregrym were reshots I would have figured it out.

  4. Tom

    I actually disagree. I admire Nikki Reed’s talent, but she didn’t bring much to the character in the original pilot. At least with Missy Peregrym, she brought a little more out of the character Andi, if nothing else. I will agree about her role on Heroes, though. Kind of just a body filling a room.

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