The criminally underrated Scottish actor David Tennant will lead the American remake of Broadchurch, the ITV crime-drama series that he also starred in, according to TV Guide Magazine.
Tennant, probably best known for as the tenth doctor on Doctor Who, will play a character similar to Detective Alec Hardy on Fox's U.S. adaptation though instead of a gritty Scottish detective, he'll assume an American accent. He once again plays the male investigator in the case of a young boy found dead under a cliff face.
David Tennant [R] In The Original Series of Broadchurch
It's a bold casting choice from Fox and Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. Tennant's subtle performance in the ITV series was one of the best of the year, though a network boasting the likes of Fringe, The X-Files and Prison Break on its book was assumed to be planning an overhaul of the show, complete with hulking great American detectives.
Fox appear to be speaking to the right people about Broadchurch, particularly Dan Futterman (In Treatment, Capote), Anya Epstein (In Treatment, Homicide) and executive producer Carolyn Bernstein (The Bridge). However, Tennant and Chibnall are the key pieces of the jigsaw.
Though Veena Sud did a reasonable job of adapting the Danish series The Killing for a U.S. audience, she ultimately had nothing to do with Forbrydelsen and, as such, her series lacked the class of the original.
"We're creating our own world," she told reporters before making one of the worst decisions in television history and choosing not to reveal the killer at the end of season one. It was weak, weak move and one that left a bitter taste for fans already frustrated by the slow pace and numerous red herrings.
Chibnall seems adamant that Broadchurch will not go the same way as The Killing, which suffered the ignominy of being cancelled twice by AMC. Firstly, he's written the first episode and will executive produce on the whole thing.
"...we're very excited about it," he told Entertainment Weekly, "I think there's a really great opportunity to make something that is hopefully as good if not better than the British version. I'm very, very fascinated to see this story in a different landscape with an acting ensemble that's just as strong but taken from really great American actors."
Here David Tennant's American accent in the Rex Is Not Your Lawyer pilot:
"The DNA of the original is absolutely intact and filtered through a new prism, so it should still feel just as vibrant, and interesting, and strange, and unique, and beautiful, but just in a different setting - and then it's exploring the dramatic opportunities that that offers up. We're not gonna do the terrible version. We're gonna do a great version," he added, confidently.
The only caveat in all this is that Tennant has already had a bad experience in America. Following his stint as Doctor Who, the actor was cast as the lead in TV show Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, about a top litigator who becomes crippled by panic attacks and therefore coaches his clients to coach themselves. The proposed legal drama co-starred Jerry O'Connell and Abigail Spencer though was not picked up and ultimately scrapped.
Tennant later told the Radio Times of the decision to axe the show, "These are enormous empires and you don't hear anything, you just get told what to do."
The U.S remake of Broadchurch begins shooting in January. The female lead is yet to be cast.