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Where You've Seen The Cast Of Bad Sisters Before

There's a traditional Irish toast, usually given at a wake: "Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed, and very dear." It's an eerily relevant saying, one that rings especially true throughout "Bad Sisters," the Apple TV+ program that dropped quietly on the streamer in late August. The deceased, in this case, is one John Paul Williams, husband of Grace, father of Blanaid. But John Paul is not loved, or missed, or dear. John Paul was, in the eyes of Grace's sisters Eva, Bibi, Becka, and Ursula, a stain on the family reputation. Nicknamed "The Prick," he wasn't just a bad husband. He was a terrible husband — psychologically abusive, belittling, and crushing Grace's self-esteem so thoroughly that her sisters felt the need to make him go away ... forever.

"Bad Sisters" bears the unmistakable stamp of actor-writer-producer Sharon Horgan, whose mordant sense of humor permeates the series. No one does mourning, or death for that matter, like the Irish, and while the show is an adaptation of the Belgian series "Clan," "Bad Sisters" (co-created by Horgan, Brett Baer, and Dave Finkel) fits perfectly into the Irish worldview. With humor as black as night, and actual life-and-death stakes, the 10-episode series has ungodly mischief in its dark heart. Let's get to know the cast.

Light spoilers follow for Season 1 of "Bad Sisters."

Sharon Horgan

Sharon Horgan, who plays the unshakable Garvey sister Eva and co-created the series, ranks among the top tier of British multi-hyphenates. Known best in the states for "Catastrophe," the Amazon series she starred in alongside Rob Delaney, the multi-BAFTA Award-winning Horgan has a dizzying array of credits to her name in the U.S. and U.K. Horgan projects that might ring familiar to American audiences include "Shining Vale," the horror-comedy series Horgan co-created for Starz starring Courteney Cox, Mira Sorvino, and Greg Kinnear; "Frank of Ireland," which Horgan executive produced for Britain's Channel 4 and Amazon, featuring the Gleeson brothers, Domhnall and Brian, and Sarah Greene. Horgan was heavily involved in "This Way Up," which she executed produced and co-starred in for Channel 4 and Hulu, and she created the short-lived "Divorce" for HBO, featuring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.

As an actor, in addition to "Catastrophe," Horgan starred alongside Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, and Kyle Chandler in the film "Game Night"; with Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"; and she has leant her vocal talents to "BoJack Horseman" and "Bob's Burgers." In 2020, she wrote and directed the "Rallying to Keep the Game Alive" episode of Amazon's "Modern Love" starring Tina Fey and John Slattery, based on the New York Times article by Ann Leary.

Michael Smiley

As Roger Muldoon, JP and Grace's good-natured neighbor, Michael Smiley maintains an almost preternatural optimism, even in the face of JP's irascibility. After bringing the Williams family numerous gifts from the sea, Roger, who heads a church group for children, becomes the subject of one of JP's more nefarious plots. The role is a far cry from some of the roles for which Smiley is best known, including the hit man Gal in Ben Wheatley's 2011 film "Kill List." For the role, Smiley earned the best supporting actor award at the 2011 British Independent Film Awards. He reunited with Wheatley in the director's 2013 folk horror film, "A Field in England."

Stateside audiences will also recognize Smiley from his appearances in "Black Mirror" (the episode "White Bear"), "Doctor Who" (the episode "Into the Dalek"), and the Idris Elba series "Luther," in which Smiley appeared as Benny "Deadhead" Silver.

An avid cyclist who got his start doing stand-up comedy, Smiley shared a flat with Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the 1990s. Praising Pegg and Frost, Smiley gushed to the U.K. site Echo, "For a couple of manic depressives, they're probably the funniest people I know."

Eva Birthistle

Ursula Flynn's having a rough time of it. Her husband Donal is a sweet, tender man who loves her, but she's clearly lost interest. Having embarked on an affair with her photography teacher, Ursula's put herself in a difficult spot. And when JP learns of her affair, he'll stop at nothing to humiliate Ursula and bring her transgression to light. As portrayed by Eva Birthistle, Ursula's all raw nerve endings, tense and coiled, ready to explode with frustration and embarrassment. In assisting her sisters in getting rid of JP, Ursula brings medical knowledge to the table; she's a nurse, and ready to utilize medications to get the job done. It's dark stuff, but Birthistle has acknowledged to Hollywood Insider that the comedy in the series is what will open it up to a wider audience.

In terms of where we've seen Birthistle before "Bad Sisters," she was Georgina, the cabin-mate of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) in the film "Brooklyn," and appeared as Hild, a nun and ally of Uhtred in Netflix's "The Last Kingdom." Horror fans will recall her performances in 2008's "The Children" with Stephen Campbell Moore, and the 2009 Hammer film "Wake Wood" opposite Timothy Spall.

Claes Bang

If the face above makes you a little nervous, you're not alone. After appearing as Christian in Ruben Östlund's 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or winner "The Square," and starring in "Dracula" for Netflix, Danish actor Claes Bang is back having the kind of year actors only dream about — albeit on the sinister side. He appeared in as the usurper Fjolnir in Robert Egger's brutal Viking opera "The Northman," as the menacing drug dealer The Dean in the BBC-Amazon series "The Outlaws," and now, as the villainous John Paul in "Bad Sisters." John Paul is inspired by the character of Jean-Claude (Dirk Roofthooft) in "Clan," although, as "Bad Sisters" co-creator Sharon Horgan told the New York Times, in "Clan," Jean-Claude was "a bit of a gargoyle." In her retelling, JP would be smoother, more conscious of appearances — or, as Horgan put it, "an attractive abuser." On top of that, she wanted someone Scandinavian to incorporate a "sort of coldness and a sort of warmness at the same time." Next up for Bang, per the Irish Times, Apple's "The New Look" with Ben Mendelsohn and Juliette Binoche. It's currently unclear if Bang plays the bad guy.

Tempering his image somewhat is Bang's side gig, This Is Not America (with Bang on guitar, piano, and MacBook), which took its name from a David Bowie song out of reverence for the artist. As Bang told Kultur for Unge, "[Bowie] is one of my biggest role models and I have everything he released." 

Peter Coonan

Playing Ben, the photography teacher embroiled in an affair with Ursula, Peter Coonan is a familiar face in English and Irish theater and TV circles. U.S. audiences are most likely to have caught his appearance as Connor Dunn in Season 6 of "Peaky Blinders"; Ding Dong in TNT's "The Alienist: Angel of Darkness" opposite Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, and Luke Evans; and the 2018 film "We Have Always Lived in the Castle," adapted from the Shirley Jackson novel, alongside Alexandra Daddario, Taissa Farmiga, and Sebastian Stan. In his home country, Coonan is best known as Fran on the critically acclaimed RTÉ drama "Love/Hate," on which he appeared with Brian Gleeson, and for which he won an Irish Film and Television Award for best supporting actor in 2014. The show, something of a phenomenon of the early 2010s, is still brought up whenever Coonan's name is raised in reference to other projects, such as AMC Networks' "Hidden Assets," as discussed in Sunday World.

Anne-Marie Duff

Of Sharon Horgan's writing, Anne-Marie Duff told The Guardian, "She's so brilliantly irreverent and funny, and cheeky... full of emotional truth and compassion, and sometimes devastating heartbreak. All in a breath." That statement neatly sums up Duff's character in "Bad Sisters," the show's emotional center. Tormented by a husband determined to snuff out any pleasure, Grace retreats inward; her attempts to branch out, take a dance class, or even find solace in her own home, are shut down. It takes a mighty actor to pull all this off, and in Duff, Horgan found her amazing Grace.

In the U.S., she's probably best known as Maeve's drug-addled mom Erin Wiley on Netflix's "Sex Education"; she's appeared in "His Dark Materials" and "Parade's End" for HBO and on Broadway opposite Ethan Hawke in "Macbeth." In the U.K., she's renowned for her stage work, and appeared on the original "Shameless," which ran on Channel 4 from 2004 to 2013. Sadly, Duff's seen her own share of heartbreak, having been married to actor James McAvoy from 2006 to 2016. Duff told Desert Island Discs in 2018, "The nature of opening your heart up to someone else... This sounds ironic, of course, but sometimes in a marriage you are never closer than the moment at which the two of you decide it's time to finish." If only Grace had that opportunity.

Jonjo O'Neill

As Donal Flynn, the cuckolded husband of Ursula, Belfast-born Jonjo O'Neill doesn't seem to deserve what he gets, but that may be the price you pay when you marry a Garvey sister. As far as O'Neill goes, he's experienced an extremely varied international screen career. On TV, he's been in "The Queen's Gambit," and played occultist Aleister Crowley in five episodes of "Pennyworth." He's appeared in episodes of Showtime's "Homeland" and "Patrick Melrose," as well as in the 50th anniversary episode of "Doctor Who," "The Day of the Doctor," with Matt Smith, David Tennant, and John Hurt. O'Neill also scored a plum role in the Coen Brothers' last film as a duo, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," appearing as "Englishman" alongside Brendan Gleeson, Tyne Daly, and Saul Rubinek in the haunting, stagecoach-set final segment, "The Mortal Remains." He is not to be confused for the renowned Irish horse trainer Jonjo O'Neill, or his son, jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jr.

Sarah Greene

Bibi Garvey's desire to off JP springs from the car accident that cost her an eye and fractured his skull. An expert archer, Bibi comes close to taking out The Prick, but like other attempts on his life, things go horribly awry. Such a misstep is nowhere to be found in career of Irish actor-singer Sarah Greene, who's won her share of plaudits over the years, including a Tony Award nomination and Theater World award for her role as Helen in Martin McDonagh's 2014 Broadway production of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" opposite Daniel Radcliffe. Greene has also appeared as Hecate Poole in the Showtime-Sky TV series "Penny Dreadful," Áine in "Frank of Ireland" with Brian and Domhnall Gleeson, Connell's mother Lorraine in the acclaimed Hulu miniseries "Normal People," Cassie in the BBC-Starz series "Dublin Murders," and Maxine in the CBS series "Ransom." Greene's future includes a TV prequel series to the 2000 film "Sexy Beast,"; "The Way of the Wind," for director Terrence Malick if it is ever released, and the thriller "In the Land of Saints and Sinners" in which Greene joins an all-star Irish cast featuring Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds, Colm Meaney, and Kerry Condon. 

Daryl McCormack

In "Bad Sisters," Tipperary-born Daryl McCormack plays Matthew Claffin, an insurance agent and Becka Garvey's reluctant love interest. Having previously worked in the theater and on "Peaky Blinders," McCormack was relatively unknown to American audiences (aside from his paternal grandfather, who runs the AmaZing Theatre Company in Maryland) when he appeared opposite Emma Thompson in the dramedy "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande." The film earned instant acclaim at Sundance in January 2022 before being picked up by Searchlight and released on Hulu this past June. Of McCormack's performance as a kind-hearted sex worker, the New York Times proclaimed, "[He] moves between wit, compassion and vulnerability with grace." Thompson, whose character Nancy bares body and soul in the film, told the Times she found McCormack "gentle and curious and apparently unsaddled with too much in the way of personal ambition... He was the right person to step off the bridge with and fly down hoping the cord won't break but knowing if it does, it was all worth the effort."

"I want to pick roles that scare me a little," McCormack told the Times. "It's probably my main antenna in terms of trying to find the next job." Coming soon for McCormack, according to Deadline: "The Woman in the Wall," a BBC-Showtime thriller with Ruth Wilson, about Ireland's infamous Magdalene Laundries.

Eve Hewson

Born Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson, Irish actress Eve Hewson is the youngest Garvey sister Becka. Enmeshed in a relationship with Matthew Claffin, she's got her own reasons for hating JP, who promised to back her massage studio before withdrawing for no reason and sending Grace to deliver the news. The free-spirited Becka is another in a line of terrific roles for Hewson, who is the daughter of U2 singer Bono and activist Ali Hewson. Stateside audiences have caught Eve Hewson in Paolo Sorrentino's "This Must Be the Place" with Sean Penn; "Blood Ties" with Clive Owen and Marion Cotillard; Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies," and the multiple Razzie Award-nominated "Robin Hood" opposite Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jamie Foxx. For the small screen, Hewson appeared in Steven Soderbergh's acclaimed and dearly missed Cinemax series "The Knick," and in Steve Lightfoot's Netflix miniseries "Behind Her Eyes."

A New York University graduate, Hewson lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Regarding her relationship with her famous dad, Hewson told The Independent, "Like any dad, he would do things that were really annoying. He used to blast The Backstreet Boys in his car in traffic on the way to school and then get out in his dressing gown and dance with his glasses on. We were just mortified. But now I think he's a really fun dad."

Assaad Bouab

A French-Moroccan actor-model who plays Gabriel, Eva's co-worker and potential love interest, Assaad Bouab has acted in a number of international productions that have found their way to American television via streaming services. From 2017 to 2020, Bouab starred as Hicham in the French comedy-drama "Call My Agent!" In 2021, Bouab appeared in Emily Mortimer's miniseries "The Pursuit of Love," alongside Lily James and Andrew Scott. He also showed up in the sixth and final season of "Peaky Blinders," an episode of "Inventing Anna," and as a CIA officer in "Messiah." Next for Bouab — an eight-episode Apple TV+ series about Benjamin Franklin with Michael Douglas and Noah Jupe. Like "Bad Sisters," it will be a refreshing change of pace for Bouab, who's played his share of terrorists and troubled individuals in modern times. His true comfort zone, Bouab told iNews, is the theater. "I love to be on the stage and to be playing in the theatres because it's somewhere where [your background] doesn't matter. And you can play in a Seán O'Casey play, or you can play in a Victor Hugo play. It doesn't matter. You just do it on the stage and people get the story."

Brian Gleeson

Brian Gleeson springs from one of the first families of Irish acting. His father is Brendan Gleeson, perhaps best known as Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody in the "Harry Potter" films, and his brother is Domhnall, perhaps best known as General Armitage Hux, the double-crossing First Order bigwig in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy. There are two other brothers, Fergus and Rory, but we'll leave them for now. In "Bad Sisters," Brian plays the hapless insurance agent Thomas Claffin, whose desperate attempt to carry on his father's legacy includes doing everything under the sun to avoid having to pay out the insurance claim for JPs demise, including subjecting each Garvey sister to the third degree and stealing their trash.

For Channel 4 and Amazon, Gleeson has appeared with his brother Domhnall and Sarah Greene on "Frank of Ireland," which he co-created for Sharon Horgan's production company. He's also appearing in "The Lazarus Project," a time-loop drama for Britain's Sky TV that's been renewed for a second season, and according to Deadline, he'll show up in the next, final season of the Netflix drama "Top Boy" with Barry Keoghan. Other work includes, perhaps inevitably, "Peaky Blinders," as Jimmy McCavern in Season 1; Desiree Akhavan's "The Bisexual," for Channel 4 and Hulu, and "Love/Hate" with Peter Coonan.