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With Universal Pictures’ upcoming shared universe of movie monsters — albeit one that will substitute horror for action — you might think your future’s creature quota had been fulfilled. But now the U.K. network ITV has put into development a series loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and it will include a smorgasbord of other spooky characters and monsters. The fact that British people are behind this makes me 100% more excited about this than if it had been birthed at Fox or CBS.
Here’s how this particular bit of madness will go. Thankfully not set in modern times, Jekyll & Hyde will take place in 1930s London, during the heyday of Hollywood and monster movies. Robert Jekyll, grandson of the original doctor, is a troubled (but attractive, of course) guy who goes on a personal quest to discover the secret behind his family’s history. He’s being controlled by medication from one Dr. Vishal Najaran, but there are apparently going to be times of major anger and stress when the meds stop working and the evil Hyde persona takes over, putting everyone in danger.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s this next bit of news that’s more troublesome. According to Deadline, the show will feature a huge amount of CGI, which will be used in creating the transformation sequences. Computers will also be used to create a host of other supernatural characters in the series, including vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls, and other abominations of nature. It’s apparently impossible to just keep things focused to one set of iconic characters.
The 10-part series will be written by Charlie Higson, a novelist, actor, and producer perhaps best known on TV for his work on The Fast Show, and perhaps best known to readers for his Young Bond series and his young adult horror series that kicked off with 2009’s The Enemy. Directing the series is Colin Teague, who’s worked on several supernatural-leaning series, such as Being Human and Doctor Who, and most recently helmed episodes of Starz’s The White Queen.
The last time TV viewers were subjected to the story of Jekyll and Hyde, it was for NBC’s notoriously low-rated drama Do No Harm, which was seemingly cancelled by the end of the first episode’s opening credits. Look back a little farther, however, and you’ll find the stellar BBC miniseries Jekyll, developed by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and starring James Nesbitt as the titular personality-changer. If this series is even half as good as that one, we’ll be in luck. (You can watch Jekyll on Netflix Instant.)
Casting is now underway for the series, which will begin production in Sri Lanka in January 2015, with an eye towards releasing it later in the year. When is BBC America or Starz going to pick up on this?