If you need to find someone to play a “walking anachronism” for a magical realism-influenced drama, then Tom Waits has to be on your short list of casting options. So it probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that the 66-year-old singer-songwriter has signed on to play a revolutionary priest named Cesar in Citizen, a supernatural drama pilot for Hulu. His character is being described as “a walking anachronism of virtue and vice—mostly virtue” who “runs a guerrilla humanitarian outfit” in a “supernaturalized” version of Los Angeles. So, not a huge stretch for Waits.
The pilot, to be directed and executive produced by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), will apparently be some sort of superhero origin story, mixing elements of dirty realism with otherworldly numinosity. Alex Gonzalez (X-Men: First Class) and Augusto Aguilera (Chasing Life) have already joined the cast as the show’s guilt-ridden hero and an idealistic dreamer, respectively.
While the gravel-voiced Waits is known primarily as an iconoclastic musician who hammers together influences from disparate genres and time periods on such classic albums as Small Change, Rain Dogs, and Mule Variations, he is also an accomplished actor with 33 credits on IMDB, including Short Cuts, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Seven Psychopaths, and several Jim Jarmusch movies. This has the potential to be his first recurring role on a television series, though.