July 20, 2014 5:08pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
'Gracepoint' Producers Promise Remake Will Diverge From Original British Series 'Broadchurch'
Producers of Fox's limited series Gracepoint acknowledged that they have their work cut out for them given that they're producing what in the early episodes at least appears to be a frame-by-frame remake of the critically lauded British series Broadchurch.
"The first order of business is, 'Don't screw up what works,'" showrunner Dan Futterman told reporters Sunday at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour. "I don't want you to rule anybody out as a suspect. We end in a very different place, which is both exciting for the first season and what could be a great second season as well."
Gracepoint will run 10 episodes compared to the original series' eight. And executive producer Carolyn Bernstein added that the series will feature some characters more prominently than the original ITV series, which ran in the U.S. on BBC America.
"We did consider starting in a different place for the first episode, but the first episode of Broadchurch was so well done. Why contort ourselves when that was the smartest way to go?" said Bernstein. "We promise that as this series progresses, it really diverges. We're not particularly worried about the overlap."
Futterman promised that the series would start to deviate in episode three and four. That doesn't mean that the killer will be different, however. But fans of the original series will probably appreciate the American accent of star David Tennant, the Scottish actor reprising his role as the lead investigator in the murder at the center of the series.
"It's always a gamble when you start on any new project," said Tennant. "I'm just happy to go where the good writing is."
The Fox series also boasts a stellar cast of American actors including Jacki Weaver, Michael Pena, Anna Gunn and Nick Nolte. (The latter two did not make the TCA session.)
Pena plays the father of the murdered boy revealed in the first episode of Gracepoint, which gives producers a cultural tension to explore that was absent in the original.
"He's a suspect in a crime he didn't commit," quipped Pena. "I grew up as a Mexican-American so I have some experience with that. So this part was easy."