TNT is bringing the bard to prime-time. The Turner owned cable network has picked up their hour-long drama pilot Will, which tells the story of a young William Shakespeare, to series with a ten episode order, TVWise has learned.
Will tells the story of a young William Shakespeare’s arrival onto the punk rock theater scene that was 16th century London – the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s the hot, contemporary, dangerous version of Shakespeare’s life, played to a modern soundtrack, exposing all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.
The drama series, which is eyed for a 2017 premiere, hails from Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby scribe Craig Pearce and stars Laurie Davidson, Olivia DeJonge (Hiding), Colm Meaney (Hell on Wheels), Mattias Inwood (The Shanara Chronicles), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Twilight Saga) and Ewen Bremner (Snowpiercer). TNT Originals is producing, with Pearce, Shekhar Kapur, Alison Owen, Debra Hayward, Vince Gerardis, Howard Braunstein and Louise Rosager serving as executive producers.
“Will has an energy and style that is unlike anything else on television today,” said Sarah Aubrey, executive vice president of original programming for TNT. “Shakespeare was a 16th century rock star, and Will perfectly captures in contemporary terms what that must have felt like for the young writer and his fans. We are delighted to be working with such an extraordinary team of executive producers and cast in putting a fresh, bold spin on the story of Shakespeare.”
Will has been in development at TNT for more than a year, with the network announcing a pilot order for the drama at last year’s Upfront in New York City. It becomes the latest Shakespeare inspired project to get off the ground to mark the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, though admittedly this is the first such project for a major US network. There have been a slew of commissions at the Beeb to mark the anniversary, most notably the David Mitchell comedy Upstart Crow which is currently airing on BBC Two.
Check out a the trailer for Will below: