Fox's Vampire Drama The Passage Casts Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Mark-Paul Gosselaar will headline Fox's television adaptation of Justin Cronin’s bestselling vampire novel The Passage.

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Deadline reports he's joined in the pilot by Saniyya Sidney, Genesis Rodriguez, Brianne Howey, BJ Britt and Jennifer Ferrin. The project will be directed by Marcos Siega (Dexter, The Vampire Diaries) from a script by Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights, Boston Public).

Published in 2010, The Passage is the first novel in a trilogy set in an apocalyptic — and then post-apocalyptic — future overrun by vampires carrying a highly contagious virus. The bestseller spans more than 90 years, which makes for an ambitious television adaptation. The Fox adaptation is described as "an epic, character-driven thriller" that centers around 10-year-old Amy (Sidney), who can communicate with “virals," terrifying creatures that were once human. After Amy's mother dies, Gosselaar's FBI agent Brad Wolgast is sent to take her to a shady government facility, but can't pull the trigger and instead tries to flee with Amy into hiding. It soon becomes evident that Amy's connection to the virals may be the key to stopping them.

While most will recognize Gosselaar from his Saved by the Bell days, his credits also include NYPD Blue and, more recently, Franklin & Bash and Raising the Bar.

Fox is eyeing The Passage for a potential midseason debut.

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