Taylor Sheridan's Lioness Adds Laysla De Oliveira To The Cast

Taylor Sheridan is continuing his quiet TV takeover with "Lioness," an upcoming Paramount Plus series starring Zoe Saldaña. Now, Variety reports Saldaña will be joined by "Locke & Key" actress Laysla De Oliveira.

"Lioness" is one of many Paramount-related series the prolific actor-turned-filmmaker is set to helm. His series "Yellowstone" is the network's flagship show, doing massive viewership numbers in comparison to other cable series. The show inspired a prequel series, the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill led "1883," last fall. Sheridan's status as the crown prince of cable has only been solidified since then, as more projects–including other period dramas like "1932" and podcast-inspired "Land Man" have been announced at a continual pace.

Sheridan revisits the CIA

The project Saldaña and De Oliveira will headline is inspired by an apparent real-life CIA program that used women operatives, including in Iraq. De Oliveira plays the lead, Cruz Manuelos, a marine recruit who works under Saldaña's station chief Joe. Cruz will join the CIA's Lioness Engagement Team in hopes of helping to "bring down a terrorist organization from within," according to Variety.

This isn't the first time Sheridan has explored the far reach of the CIA. In 2015, he penned the Denis Villeneuve-directed film "Sicario," a potent thriller about a team working to take down a dangerous cartel. Although "Sicario" received widespread acclaim, its sequel was lambasted by some critics for perpetuating racial stereotypes. Another Sheridan film, "Wind River," also received criticism for its depictions of issues impacting Indigenous women. Sheridan can clearly craft a Western like nobody's business, but with "Lioness," he re-enters touchy cross-cultural territory that requires plenty of thoughtful nuance.

Sheridan won't be the sole authorial voice for "Lioness," though. He created the show and will executive produce, as will star Saldaña, Nicole Kidman, David C. Glasser, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, David Hutkin, Geyer Kosinski, Jill Wagner, and showrunner Tom Brady. No, not that Tom Brady. Yes, that Nicole Kidman. In a statement to TV Insider, Brady responded to earlier news about the show with enthusiasm:

"I am a huge fan of Taylor Sheridan's work and am honored to help him tell his next amazing story with 'Lioness.' Taylor has created an epic, gripping, global spy thriller centered on a group of complex, strong women, and I can't imagine anyone better to help bring these characters to life than fellow executive producers Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldaña."

"Lioness" will premiere on Paramount Plus, but release date information has not yet been announced.