When David Tennant stars in something, we pay attention: Doctor Who, Jessica Jones, Good Omens, you name it. The guy is personality plus with a knack for picking great genre roles, and his latest is a wink back to one of the most influential creators in genre history. Tennant is set to start in an eight-part BBC production of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days and the first look is here.
Tennant stars as adventurer Phileas Fogg while Ibrahim Koma stars as his valet Passepartout and Leonie Benesch (The Crown) as journalist Abigail Fix. The production was halted last year due to covid but picked back up in November 2020—traversing the world, not unlike its characters, to shoot in Romania and South Africa. A release date has not yet been set, but with the release of the teaser below, one assumes it might be over the holidays.
A short look to be sure, but you get a strong sense of the show’s tone and epic, globe-trotting scope. “We wanted Fogg, yes, to be a preposterously upper middle class over-educated Englishman, but I wanted to give him a sort of childlike sense of wonder because he’s never traveled, he’s never left London or his club,” head writer Ashley Pharaoh told Deadline. “As soon as I hit on that, I thought it’s a love letter to the world, if that isn’t a bit pretentious. He goes to Paris and India and Hong Kong and Yemen and he’s so excited to see a camel, the different colors and cultures. It felt like resetting our relationship with traveling and seeing the world like that.”
Starring alongside Tennant, Koma, and Benesch are Jason Watkins (Dirk Gently) and Peter Sullivan (The Borgias) plus a slew of guest stars. Episodes are directed by Steve Barron (the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie), Brian Kelly (Torchwood), and the late, great Charles Beeson, who directed episodes of Person of Interest, Torchwood, Fringe and many others.
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