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‘Happy Face’: Tamera Tomakili Joins Paramount+ Series

EXCLUSIVE: Happy Face is rounding out its series regular cast, adding Tamera Tomakili (Winning Time) alongside Annaleigh Ashford, Dennis Quaid and James Wolk to Paramount+’s upcoming drama series. The series hails from creator and executive producer Jennifer Cacicio and executive producers Robert and Michelle King.

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.

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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.

Tomakili plays Ivy, a true crime segment producer on The Dr. Greg Show, the show where Melissa works as a makeup artist. “Calculating when she needs to be, caring when she wants to be,” she accompanies Melissa on a grim errand to an Oregon prison to unlock the carefully held secret of Melissa’s past.

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

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.

Happy Face is produced by CBS Studios in association with King Size Productions, iHeartPodcasts and Semi-Formal Productions. The series, which was put into development in 2020 by Paramount+ predecessor CBS All Access and ordered to series in 2021, is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Tomakili is most recently known for her role as Earletha “Cookie” Kelly, Magic Johnson’s girlfriend and future wife in HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. She also recurred on Season 2 of the critically acclaimed Starz series Blindspotting. Additional credits include Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station and the Starz series Run the World. She’s repped by CAA and Brillstein.

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