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Even without Universal’s upcoming horror-free slate of monster movies, audiences around the world are in the midst of a Frankenstein-asance, and Mary Shelley’s greatest accomplishment will soon be getting one of its strangest adaptations yet. Former Game of Thrones star Sean Bean has signed on to lead The Frankenstein Chronicles, which will take a unique path through the scientist/monster mythos as a crime drama for the U.K. network ITV. I’m behind any series that at least seems to guarantee Bean lives until the final episode.
The six-part Frankenstein Chronicles will take place in 1827 and will follow Bean’s Inspector John Marlott as he stumbles into the crime of the century. The series will open with Marlott taking on one case, only to get distracted with the discovery of a child’s corpse made up of different body parts sewed together “in a grotesque parody of a human form,” according to BBC News. The episodes will track Marlott’s case as he tries to find the killer. What could be better than watching Sean Bean try and solve a 19th century murder? (Seriously.)
The series was created by Benjamin Ross and Barry Langford, who worked together for the acclaimed 2005 short film Torte Bluma. Ross directed the features The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, which he also wrote, and Thorne: Scaredycat, and was nominated for an Emmy for directing the 1999 HBO film RKO 281. Ross will be directing the series, with both men writing.
Usually, predetermined press release synopses don’t sway me, but Ross has me hooked with this one below.
Marlott’s investigation takes him into the dark corners of Regency London…He discovers an underworld of prostitution, drug smuggling, bodysnatching and murder for profit. The rational evidence points first one way and then another as he contemplates a frightening alternate scenario.”
The series doesn’t yet have a home here in the U.S., but there’s a pretty good chance it could land at HBO, which would speak to its critical appeal. The Frankenstein Chronicles is being executive produced by the HBO-friendly Rainmark Films’ Tracey Scoffield and Frank Doelger, the latter of whom has been a producer on Rome and John Adams and is currently working on Game of Thrones. It only makes sense for HBO to step in here, right?
Bean is already leading his own TV series, with TNT’s Legends earning him high marks, even if the show’s audience kept drooping. He’s got an interesting feature slate coming in 2015, with the Wachowskis’ space opera Jupiter Ascending, the video game-themed adventure comedy Pixels and Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller The Martian all hitting at different parts of the year.
Filming for The Frankenstein Chronicles will begin in Ireland in January 2015, so expect more casting news to be sewn up and thrown out in the weeks to follow. In the meantime, follow up on one of the other 17 Frankenstein projects in development.