Less than a week after announcing a May premiere, NBC birthed a full trailer for Rosemary’s Baby, their “miniseries event” take on Ira Levin’s devilish 1967 novel. There’s no possible way to approach this update without making immediate mental comparisons to the stellar 1968 film from Roman Polanski, unless you haven’t seen that film, of course. Standing out as a completely separate piece of visual fiction is this version’s best chance of achieving success, and the trailer above is definitely a different Rosemary’s Baby than we’ve seen before. But the chances of that being a great thing are looking about as positive as the results of a man’s pregnancy test.
Here’s what I mean. Both of the two-hour installments were directed by Agnieszka Holland, whose film career stands out for powerful WWII-set dramas like In Darkness and Europa Europa, complimented by TV work on series like HBO’s The Wire and Treme. But this entire trailer has the same look as any random crisply-lit NBC procedural, with obvious CGI backgrounds and bright scenes filmed at eye-level for all the characters. Polanski’s movie defined atmosphere from beginning to end, and I was hoping for something with more nuanced menace here, even though the teasers weren’t enough to enforce wishful thinking.
But really, Rosemary’s Baby could look like 1980s home video dogshit if it elevates the story in a captivating way. Though I’m admittedly unfamiliar with the career of Patrick J. Adams (Suits), who plays husband/impending father Guy Woodhouse, I’m a fan of everyone else and the performances all-around look to be spot on for a cultish thriller. Zoe Saldana (Avatar) is all screams as the knife-wielding Rosemary, Guy’s wife and soon-to-be demon producer, while Jason Isaacs (Awake) and Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only) respectively play the charming Roman and Margaux, the reticent neighbors and friends…at least in the beginning.
A lucrative job offer brings Guy and Rosemary to Paris, where they move into an apartment with a strange history. Roman and Margaux are only too eager to help them with their transition and pregnancy, which doesn’t seem out of the ordinary until Rosemary starts to uncover the secrets behind her new home and pals, and why she was “chosen” to have this baby. Plus, that baby is gonna be supa evil, yo! Isaacs has never been better than as the morally-challenged Michael Caffee on Showtime’s Brotherhood, so it’s good to see him in another dark role. I would not be against seeing him try to eat a baby.
Isn’t it strange how this preview for a 160-minute (estimated commercial-free length) miniseries is only one minute long while 90-minute movies get trailers that last two minutes or more? And yet somehow it still managed to sneak in a grammatical error (“By who?”) and the mother of all public domain ultrasound pictures.
Rosemary’s Baby will premiere on Sunday, May 11, with the second part airing Thursday, May 15. Submit to your wildest pregnancy cravings and join us in watching.