'Bionic Woman' Gets a New Sister
Lucy Hale replaces Mae Whitman on NBC series
Lucy Hale, who's appeared on "How I Met Your Mother" and "The O.C.," has taken over for Mae Whitman ("Arrested Development") in the new NBC drama, which stars Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders") as the title character. In addition to the recasting, the character has undergone a fairly significant transformation too.
As originally conceived, Jaime's sister was deaf and living with her following the death of their mother (and not happy about it). In the reworked pilot, executive producer Jason Smilovic says, the parents are still out of the picture, but that may not be a permanent thing. Hale's character is a budding hacker who may "open a channel" to reconnecting with her folks.
"The parents were activists back in the day and ... were very keen on saving the world, but as a result, sort of neglected their own children," Smilovic says.
The character will also no longer be hearing-impaired, which is both a character choice and a window into the way pilot scripts get shaped and changed. As Smilovic explains:
"Without going into too much detail, it's that we wanted to create an organic way for -- Jaime was originally working in a lab. She was going to be assigned to these chimpanzees. The chimpanzees were going to Dr. Anthros, to this gentleman right here [co-star Chris Bowers], who was using them for experimentation. He would come down to get the chimpanzees and he would -- you know, they sort of fell in love during that time. And we were looking for a -- an organic way for her to be talking to the chimpanzees in sign language. Of course, the chimpanzees disappeared. The lab disappeared [in the version with Whitman]. The deaf sister stayed, but now she's disappeared as well."
Hale played Robin's (Cobie Smulders) younger sister in an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" last season and has also guested on "The O.C.," "Drake & Josh" and Disney Channel's "The Wizard's of Waverly Place." She was also a finalist on "American Juniors" in 2003.