This year's eclectic group of Golden Globe television nominees was full of surprises, from Game Of Thrones' acting snubs to the Hollywood Foreign Press' love for Outlander. But perhaps no surprise was more out-of-left-field than the inclusion of Amazon Prime Instant Video's half-hour original series Mozart In The Jungle in the Best Comedy Series race. This was especially surprising, considering the fact that these nominations are technically for the show's yet-to-be-seen second season, premiering Wednesday, Dec. 30. (The first season was released in December of 2014, making it ineligible for this round of 2015 honorees.) Given the show's recent nominations and its incipient return, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the terrific cast of Mozart In The Jungle !
The series, created by Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom) and Jason Schwartzman (Bored To Death), is based on the 2005 memoir of the same name by Blair Tindall, an oboist who played with the New York Philharmonic, as well as with numerous Broadway productions. Best Actor in a Comedy Series nominee Gael García Bernal stars as a character based on famous Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel — but his isn't the only famous name in the impressive cast list.
Meet the inhabitants of Amazon's Jungle:
Gael García Bernal
The 37-year-old actor is most well-known Stateside for starring in movies by fellow Mexican filmmakers who would go on to win Oscars: 2000's Amores perros and 2006's Babel with Alejandro G. Iñárritu (who won the Oscar last year for directing Birdman), and 2001's Y tu mamá también with Alfonso Cuarón (who won the Oscar two years ago for directing Gravity). He has also starred as Che Guevara twice, once in the 2002 miniseries Fidel and again in the 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries.
In Jungle, Bernal plays Rodrigo De Souza, the genius — if unorthodox — young conductor brought in to revitalize the waning New York Symphony.
Peters is one of the most famous actresses in the history of Broadway, with seven Tony nominations (and two wins) to her name; she's perhaps most famous for her collaborations with musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim, for whom she's starred in productions of Into The Woods, Sunday In The Park With George, A Little Night Music, and Follies. But she's no stranger to the camera, either, having appeared in a couple dozen films over the year (including The Jerk and Pennies From Heaven) and guest starring on popular television dramas like Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and Smash.
Here, Peters stars as Gloria Windsor, the president of the Symphony who's keen to see Rodrigo breathe new life into her struggling organization.
McDowell is in that tier of perennial supporting actors whose face you always instantly recognize, even if you can never quite remember his name. Including one-episode guest appearances on TV shows, his IMDb page boasts a staggering 246 credits stretching back 51 years. His early breakout role was as demented droog Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange. More recent credits include roles in movies as diverse as the rebooted Halloween franchise, the teen comedy Easy A, and the Best Picture-winning silent film The Artist.
As Thomas Pembridge, the aging maestro on his way out the door, McDowell's character clashes frequently (and colorfully) with Bernal's young upstart.
If Kirke's face looks inexplicably familiar despite her relatively brief resumé, there's a good reason: she's the younger sister of Girls actress Jemima Kirke. Before Jungle, the younger Kirke's television appearances have been limited to a guest starring role on Law & Order: SVU and a brief cameo in the pilot of HBO's The Leftovers. This year, she starred alongside Greta Gerwig in Noah Baumbach's comedy Mistress America (for which Kirke was nominated at the Gotham Awards for Best Breakthrough Actor) — although her most widely seen big screen role to date has undoubtedly been as unscrupulous scam artist Greta in David Fincher's Gone Girl.
Kirke's Hailey Rutledge is essentially the audience surrogate; as the newest member of the New York Symphony, the young oboist's viewpoint is the audience's entry point to the Jungle.
English actress Burrows is perhaps most famous for her starring role in the aquatic thriller Deep Blue Sea; some of her other memorable credits include roles in the 2004 swords-and-sandals pic Troy and the 2008 Jason Statham heist movie The Bank Job. But savvy TV viewers will most readily recognize Burrows as Victoria Hand, the Hub Director murdered by Grant Ward in Season 1 of ABC's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In Jungle, Burrows plays Cynthia Taylor, the Symphony's veteran cellist who takes wide-eyed Hailey under her wing.
Peter Vack as Alex Merriweather
I'm not sure how much overlap there is between the audiences of Amazon's classical music dramedy and MTV viewership, but Vack's biggest credit to date has been his starring role in that network's teen sitcom I Just Want My Pants Back. (Yes, that was the title of a real show that lasted for one season.) On the big screen, you might have glimpsed him in the 2013 county music-theme CBGB starring Alan Rickman, or in this year's Anne Hathaway/Robert De Niro workplace comedy The Intern.
Vack gets to show off his moves as Alex Merriweather, a ballet dancer-cum-bartender who catches the eye of Kirke's Hailey.
Hannah Dunne as Lizzie
Like Kirke, Dunne's biggest credit to date has been an appearance in a film starring Greta Gerwig and directed by Noah Baumbach — in this case, 2012's Frances Ha. She also guest starred in a Season 4 episode of FX's Louie.
Dunne drops by the Jungle to play Hailey's party girl roommate, Lizzie.
Season 2 of Mozart In The Jungle will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video this Wednesday.