Before 2021 arrived, Paul Bettany's biggest TV role was as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski for the crime drama Manhunt, but it's safe to say that solid effort has been eclipsed by the actor's Emmy-worthy performance at the synthezoid heart of the MCU's recently concluded WandaVision. Now, as fans are still wrestling with that finale's aftermath and what it means for Vision and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, it has been revealed that Bettany still be sticking with the small screen for his next noteworthy project. Bettany is teaming up with The Crown vet Claire Foy for the limited series A Very British Scandal.
Paul Bettany likely wanted to find a WandaVision follow-up that didn't require him to spend as much time in makeup chairs while dealing with as much CGI-infused stuntwork. And by all means, A Very British Scandal will be quite the change of pace compared to the superhero gig, even though the new show does technically share its 1960s timeline with the second episode of WandaVision.
With BBC One and Amazon Prime Video set as the linear and streaming homes for the new show on both sides of the pond, A Very British Scandal is the follow up to the acclaimed award-winning A Very English Scandal, which was led by Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. The three-episode project will center on Paul Bettany and Claire Foy as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, and how their divorce became one of the most memorably scandalous and attention-grabbing legal cases in modern times.
As Margaret Campbell, Claire Foy will presumably be a picture of grace and beauty, although that image will certainly be put to the test when A Very British Scandal digs into the juicy details of her high-profile split from Paul Bettany's Ian Campbell. The Duke became increasingly suspicious of the Duchess' potential infidelity, and in the midst of their court case, he used divisive means in bringing to light evidence that pointed to affairs with multiple men, and there were secret recordings, illicit Polaroids, drugs, forgery and bribery involved, and that's not even an exhaustive checklist.
The new drama will explore the Duke and Duchess' scandals inside and out in giving viewers a mirror into the post-war climate central to Britain, and it will raise questions about institutionalized misogyny as Claire Foy's Margaret will be perhaps unfairly taken to task by not only the legal system, but also the press and the friends whom she considered closest to her. Through it all, however, the Duchess was a picture of resilience and courage, standing up for herself despite the public shaming.
Sounds like we won't get to see a lot of heroic behavior from Paul Bettany, as his Duke will likely be portrayed with antagonistic flair, even though the royal figure was indeed wronged in certain ways. Check out the actor's statement on the announcement below:
I’m delighted to be working with the remarkable Claire Foy to tell the fascinating and scandalous story of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and their very complicated lives. I’m also extremely happy to get the chance to once again be working with the wonderful teams at the BBC and Amazon Studios.
A Very English Scandal will be written by Sarah Phelps, a noteworthy TV scribe who penned scripts for such projects as Great Expectations, The Casual Vacancy, EastEnders, Dublin Murders, The Pale Horse and many more. Handling the directorial effort will be Anne Sewitsky, a Norwegian talent who is best known to U.S. audiences for her work on episodes of Black Mirror, Castle Rock and Monsterland.
Production is set to kick off on A Very British Scandal later this year across the UK, and a premiere date will likely be set for BBC One and Amazon Prime Video at some point closer to filming being completed. In the meantime, feel free to go back and watch WandaVision's first and only season a 17th time, since all those theories about White Vision and Mephisto aren't going to work on his new show.