Tom Sturridge, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Paul Sparks Lead Casting for Starz’s Sweetbitter!

Tom Sturridge, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Paul Sparks have been cast in three key roles in Starz’s Sweetbitter, which follows Tess (Ella Purnell) as her job at a top New York City restaurant leads her into a world of drugs, drinking, love, lust, dive bars and fine dining.

Sturridge, Fitzgerald and Sparks will portray key figures in the restaurant.

The show has also added Evan Jonigkeit, Daniyar, Eden Epstein and
Jasmine Mathews to as series regulars.


Starz Adds Evan Jonigkeit, Daniyar, Eden Epstein and
Jasmine Mathews to Drama Series as Series Regulars

Beverly Hills, Calif. – October 31, 2017– Starz announced today that three key roles have been cast for the new STARZ Original series “Sweetbitter.” Tom Sturridge (“The Hollow Crown,” On the Road, Waiting for Forever, Pirate Radio) will portray “Jake,” Caitlin FitzGerald (“Masters of Sex,” “Rectify,” Always Shine) will play “Simone,” and Paul Sparks (“House of Cards,” Season One of STARZ Original limited series “The Girlfriend Experience”) will portray “Howard.” Evan Jonigkeit (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, “Broad City,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Daniyar (“Claws,” “Scandal,” “Payday”), Eden Epstein (“In Between Men,” Blind) and Jasmine Mathews (“Blue Bloods,” “Heathers”) will also join to round out the cast as series regulars.

Emmy and DGA Award-winning Writer/Director Richard Shepard (The Matador, Dom Hemingway, “Girls,” “Criminal Minds,” Ugly Betty”) will direct the series premiere episode. Shepard will also serve as executive producer with Stu Zicherman (“The Americans,” “The Affair,” “Six Degrees”), Plan B Entertainment, and Stephanie Danler, who has written the script for the first episode. Donna Bloom will serve as producer on the six-episode freshman season. Casting by Laura Rosenthal.

The drama series is based on Stephanie Danler’s national best-selling novel and stars Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass 2, Maleficent) in the lead role of “Tess.” Shortly after arriving in New York City, Tess lands a job at a celebrated downtown restaurant. Swiftly introduced to the world of drugs, drinking, love, lust, dive bars and fine dining, she learns to navigate the chaotically alluring, yet punishing life she has stumbled upon. “Sweetbitter” is the story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the rich and grimy backdrop of exclusive restaurants, conjuring a nonstop and high-adrenaline world evoking the possibility, beauty and fragility of being young and adrift.

Tom Sturridge will portray “Jake,” a recklessly beautiful bartender, and Caitlin FitzGerald will play “Simone” – a sommelier who is the embodiment of self-possession, beauty, and authority at the restaurant. Simone and Jake awaken, in Tess, a sense of lust she has never felt before. “Howard,” the General Manager of the restaurant and father-figure to the group who work there, will be portrayed by Paul Sparks. Evan Jonigkeit has been cast in the role of “Will,” the backwaiter assigned to train Tess and becomes her first friend. The role of “Sasha,” a highly proficient and hard-working Russian immigrant-turned-backwaiter will be played Daniyar. Eden Epstein will portray “Ari,” an adventurous lesbian who backwaits by day and DJs by night. She and Heather, a server postponing law school, are a fearsome duo who treat gossip like a professional sport. “Heather” will be played by Jasmine Mathews.

Tom Sturridge most recently starred on Broadway in “1984,” the stage adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel produced by Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman. Sturridge starred as “Winston Smith” alongside Olivia Wilde and Reed Birney and garnered rave reviews for his harrowing performance. Sturridge was nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for his outstanding work in “American Buffalo” on the West End in London opposite John Goodman and Damian Lewis. He was previously nominated for a Tony® award for his role in “Orphans” on Broadway, opposite Ben Foster and Alec Baldwin. Sturridge had two films premiere last month at the Toronto Film Festival: Mary Shelley opposite Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth, and Journey’s End with Paul Bettany and Sam Claflin. Other notable performances include playing Allen Ginsberg in Walter Salles’ On the Road, starring opposite Carey Mulligan in Thomas Vinterberg’s Far from the Madding Crowd, Song to Song directed by Terrence Malick and Pirate Radio opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman. He also starred in the acclaimed and award-winning BBC series “The Hollow Crown,” playing Henry VI. Sturridge is repped by Curtis Brown Group and WME.

Caitlin FitzGerald will star as “Serena,” the first ever bachelorette in the upcoming third season of Lifetime’s highly successful “UnREAL,” premiering in February. She has also completed production on The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot. FitzGerald is also known for her role as “Libby Masters” on the Showtime series “Masters of Sex.” She is repped by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Peikoff Mahan.

Paul Sparks will soon be seen in the upcoming feature film The Greatest Showman, directed by Michael Gracey, which will premiere in December. He recently wrapped the role of “Steve Schneider” in the highly-anticipated series “Waco” for Paramount Network. Sparks earned an Emmy® Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the Underwoods’ provocative biographer “Thomas Yates” in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” He starred in Season One of STARZ Original limited series “The Girlfriend Experience,” executive produced by Steven Soderbergh. Sparks completed a five-season run on HBO’s award-winning series “Boardwalk Empire” and won two SAG Awards in the Ensemble category. Sparks is repped by The Gersh Agency and One Entertainment.

Evan Jonigkeit’s numerous film and television appearances include “Broad City,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Frontier,” “Girls,” “Easy,” X-Men: Days of Future Past, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Tallulah. He was nominated for an Emmy® Award in producing for Stand for Rights, a benefit for the ACLU. He was also part of the producing teams for the 2017 ESPY awards and forthcoming film, Kate Can’t Swim. He most recently concluded executive producing “Fabled” with Refinery29, an anthology series, on which he also writes and acts. Jonigkeit is repped by UTA and lawyer James Adams at Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.

Born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (USSR), Daniyar grew up in Kaliningrad, Russia. Putting his lifelong goal of becoming an actor on hold, Daniyar studied petroleum engineering in college for two years before packing his bags and moving to the U.S. where he was given asylum and eventually his green card. He has built his acting career by working on “Scandal” and “Claws” as well as appearing in numerous commercials. “Sweetbitter” is his first breakout role and the beginning of his lifelong dream. Daniyar is repped by Courtney Peldon at Aqua Talent Agency and Bohemia Group.

Eden Epstein was born and raised in Santa Monica, California, where she trained and performed in over one hundred performances from childhood into adolescence to become a professional ballet dancer. When Epstein sustained an injury that required surgery, she began to act. Epstein attended New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and upon graduating, immediately booked her first feature film, Blind, directed by Michael Mailer and starring opposite Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore. Epstein is also a theater actress, and has performed at various theaters ranging from The Signature Theater to The Metropolitan Playhouse. She is represented by Authentic Talent & Literary Management, Stewart Talent, and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.

Jasmine Mathews will soon appear as “Heather McNamara” in Paramount Network’s remake of “Heathers” and a lead guest role on “Blue Bloods.” She has appeared onstage in several productions with the Nevada Conservatory Theater and the Baldwin Burroughs Theatre, such as, “Yasmin” in “Water by the Spoonful,” “Shelby” in “Steel Magnolias” and “Trisha” in “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.”  Born in Houston, Texas, the former Miss Morehouse College and Miss Historically Black College and University graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from UNLV and attended the British American Drama Academy in London. Mathews is repped by The Gersh Agency and Red Letter Entertainment.

Starz retains all global distribution and home entertainment rights to “Sweetbitter.”

Senior Vice President of Original Programming Ken Segna, Vice President of Original Programming Patrick McDonald and Senior Coordinator of Original Programming Samantha Offsay are the Starz executives in charge of “Sweetbitter.”