Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Showtime order PENNY DREADFUL from John Logan and Sam Mendes

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Screenwriter John Logan
The cable network is really trying to boost its original programming just now, perhaps because it knows Dexter's reaching the end of its lifetime (and Homeland could easily crash-and-burn if it's not too careful?) They've just ordered a brand new series from well-known screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Aviator) and director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) that sounds like a version of Alan Moore's comic-book League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Penny Dreadful is billed as a "psychosexual horror" set in Victorian London, and will bring together several famous fictional characters: vampire Count Dracula, his archenemy Van Helsing, genius Dr Frankenstein and his reanimated monster, immortal Dorian Gray, and maybe even Jack the Ripper. Logan will write all of the episodes and be the executive-producer alongside Mendes, who may direct the pilot. They previously worked together on the recent James Bond movie Skyfall.

Showtime President David Nevins commented that "John Logan and Sam Mendes are two of the great storytellers of our time. The visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their re-imagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show. [John Logan] has been obsessed with monsters in literature since childhood. It's a show he’s always wanted to do and I've been wooing him to Showtime for a long time. It's very realistic, it's very grounded; the characters are in very human form in turn of the century London. There will be one central view point, but it's a fairly ensemble series in the way Downton Abbey is an ensemble."

I'm a big horror, vampire and Victoriana fan, so Penny Dreadful sounds right up my alley. It does superficially sound like Logan's simply decided to remake League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for cable television, but let's hope it's closer to Alan Moore's celebrated graphic novel than the movie fiasco from 2003.

PENNY DREADFUL will start shooting later this year, most likely for an autumn 2014 release on Showtime. I'd expect Fox UK to pick this up over here.