The Fall 2013 television season has barely kicked off, and already there’s much to look forward to in 2014. One series that sounds intriguing as all get-out is Penny Dreadful, for which Showtime just signed British actress Billie Piper.
A psychological thriller/horror series set in Victorian London, Penny Dreadful features some of literature’s most iconic and terrifying figures, whose stories are interwoven with those of characters who “grapple with their monstrous alienation.”
Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) will play one such character: Brona Croft, an Irish woman who immigrates to London in order to “escape a dark and sordid past.”
The eight-episode fright-fest will also star Reeve Carney (The Tempest, Snow Falling on Cedars) as the supernaturally young Dorian Grey, Harry Treadaway (The Lone Ranger, Control) as Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Rory Kinnear (Skyfall, Quantum of Solace) as “an unnamed mysterious character of haunting intensity.”
The first actors to sign on for Penny Dreadful were Josh Hartnett (Black Hawk Down, Lucky Number Slevin), who will play Ethan Chandler, “a charming American who finds himself trapped in the darkest corners of Victorian London,” and Eva Green (Casino Royale, Dark Shadows), who will star as Vanessa Ives, “a seductive and formidable beauty full of secrets and danger.” Timothy Dalton joined the cast soon thereafter. He will have the role of Sir Malcolm, “a hardened African explorer on a deeply personal quest.”
Showtime also announced that Helen McCrory, Danny Sapani, and Simon Russell Beale have also signed on for Penny Dreadful. McCrory (Skyfall, Hugo) will play Madame Kali, a spiritualist; Sapani (Misfits, Ultimate Force) will portray Sembene, “an African warrior and longtime ally of Sir Malcolm”; and Russell Beale (The Hollow Crown, MI-5) will star as Ferdinand Lyle, “an eccentric Egyptologist.”
So, will Russell Beale’s Egyptologist have a run-in with the Mummy? And is Kinnear’s mystery man Dracula? If so, then they, along with Frankenstein and his monster and Dorian Grey, will feature in four of the eight episodes. Wanna venture a guess as to who the other four antiheroes of horror could be?
Created, written, and executive produced by three-time Oscar® nominee John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator), and produced by Neal Street Productions’ Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, Call The Midwife), Penny Dreadful will begin filming in London this Fall. Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage) will direct the first two episodes.
Penny Dreadful will premiere on Showtime in 2014.