After what has been an extraordinarily difficult casting process, Fox has opted to push their Luther pilot off-cycle.
Based on the BBC One series, Luther follows John Luther, a near-genius detective struggling to cope with his own demons. The project is being penned by original series creator Neil Cross and is set up at 20th Century Fox Television, Chernin Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions.
The project has been in the works at Fox since last November and ultimately scored a pilot order this past January. That pilot order was cast-contingent, with Fox executive recognising early on that they would need to find the right actor to play the role which is so closely associated with Idris Elba.
Several names were floated to take on the lead role in the US adaptation of Luther. Some of those names included Marlon Wayans, Backstrom‘s Dennis Haysbert and Jericho star Lennie James, but a range of issues prevented any deals from closing. Fox also briefly toyed with the notion of having Elba – who serves as an executive producer on the pilot – reprise the role of Luther.
Having rolled the pilot, Fox is hopeful that they will have better luck finding a suitable actor to play the lead outside of the rat race which is the traditional pilot season. It is worth nothing that very few projects that are pushed off-cycle ever make it to series.
The news that Fox’s Luther pilot has been delayed comes as production is getting underway in London on two new episodes of the original series, with Idris Elba returning to the titular role. Other cast members include Rose Leslie, Laura Haddock, Darren Boyd, John Heffernan and Patrick Malahide.