‘Happy Face’ Adds Damon Gupton & Momona Tamada As Recurring

TV

EXCLUSIVE: Damon Gupton and Momona Tamada have joined the recurring cast of Happy Face, Paramount+’s upcoming drama series from creator and executive producer Jennifer Cacicio and executive producers Robert and Michelle King. They join previously announced series regulars Annaleigh Ashford, Dennis Quaid, James Wolk, Tamera Tomakili, Khiyla Aynne and Benjamin Mackey.

Happy Face is inspired by the true-life story of Melissa Moore; the Happy Face podcast from iHeartPodcasts and Moore; and the autobiography Shattered Silence, written by Moore with M. Bridget Cook.

In the series, jumping off from Moore’s true-life story, Happy Face (Quaid) is an incarcerated serial killer who also is Melissa’s (Ashford) once-beloved father. After decades of no contact, he finally finds a way to force himself back into his daughter’s life. In a race against the clock, Melissa must find out if an innocent man is going to be put to death for a crime her father committed. Throughout, she discovers the impact her father had on his victims’ families and must face a reckoning of her own identity.

Gupton plays Elijah, who was convicted of murder in 1995, when he was in his early 20s, and he’s been on death row in Texas ever since.  Elijah has always maintained his innocence, but it’s not until the Happy Face Killer gets involved in his case that the world begins to listen.  Two months out from his execution, Elijah must grapple with a feeling he let go of a long time ago: hope.

Tamada portrays 15-year-old Eva, Hazel’s childhood best friend, who has drifted away from Hazel and into the cool girl clique.  But Eva is a true crime aficionado, and when she learns that her old friend has a link to the Happy Face Killer, she and the rest of the cool girls invite Hazel into the fold.  

The eight-episode first season of Happy Face, produced by CBS Studios in association with King Size Productions, iHeartPodcasts and Semi-Formal Productions, will premiere exclusively on Paramount+ globally in 2025.

Jennifer Cacicio – who also serves as showrunner – executive produces alongside Robert and Michelle King, Liz Glotzer, Melissa Moore, Conal Byrne, Will Pearson, Michael Showalter — who will direct the first episode — and Jordana Mollick.

Gupton can be seen in Apple’s comedy series The Big Door Prize, which is currently airing its second season. He also starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Apple’s limited series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Known for his role as Stephen Walker on Criminal Minds, Gupton’s other credits include Showtime miniseries Super Pumped and The Comey Rule, as well A&E’s Bates Motel. On the big screen, he was seen in La La Land and Whiplash, among others. He’s repped by Harden Curtis Kirsten Riley Agency, SMS Talent and Brookside Artist Management.

Tamada is known for her breakout role as Claudia Kishi in Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club. Additional television credits include her most recent role as Ty Leein Netflix’s live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She also stars opposite Lyon Daniels, Noah Cottrell, and Christian Slater in Disney+’s live-action series The Spiderwick Chronicles. In film, Tamada portrayed Maya in Paramount’s action feature Secret Headquarters opposite Owen Wilson and Michael Peña. Additional credits include To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and its follow-up To All The Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean, and a lead role in Netflix’s family film, The Main Event. Tamada is represented by da Costa Talent Management, Echo Lake Entertainment and The Framework Collective.

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