Poppy Montgomery stars in the CBS pilot "Mission Control" (File Photo).
LOS ANGELES - The Wrap is reporting today that two white actors, Poppy Montgomery and David Giuntoli were cast in lead roles for a CBS pilot originally called for minority actors.
At issue is the pilot "Mission Control" which featured lead roles that were originally written for people of color in the spec pilot script written by Andy Weir, according to The Wrap. Montgomery, who is known for the CBS police procedural "Without a Trace," is set to play Julie Towne, who in earlier drafts of the script, is the daughter of a Caucasian father and Latina mother who is bilingual and speaks, both, English and Spanish.
Giuntoli, formerly of NBC's "Grimm," is set to play Malik Stevenson, who is described as African-American in the script. Neither CBS nor Weir would comment on The Wrap's story.
According to sources close to the production, the roles were offered to non-white actors but they reportedly passed. The production then moved on to cast Montgomery and Giuntoli, with significant changes to the lead characters such as Montgomery's character which will now not speak Spanish.
The pilot's cast includes other non-white actors such as Ricardo Chavira, formerly of "Desperate Housewives," who will play the head of Johnson Space Center and Nigerian actress Wunmi Mosaku as Rayna, a public affairs officer.
CBS has been under fire of late for lack diversity in its casting in particularly in its casting of pilots so far this year, the majority of which have featured white actors in leading roles. The exceptions are a drama pilot led by Sharon Leal, who is of Filipino and of African American heritage, and the copsitcom “Brothered Up” starring Romany Malco and Adhir Kalyan, who are African American and Indian. Shemar Moore, formerly of “Criminal Minds” stars in the drama pilot “S.W.A.T.”