March 11, 2013 10:53am PT by Lesley Goldberg
John Malkovich to Play Blackbeard in NBC Pirate Drama Series 'Crossbones'
John Malkovich is heading to the small screen.
The two-time Oscar nominee has been tapped to star as Blackbeard in NBC's action-adventure drama series Crossbones, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Malkovich will star as the famed pirate in the 10-episode drama based on Colin Woodard's book The Republic of Pirates about the golden age of piracy in the 1700s.
NBC's series takes place in 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the pirate Edward Teach -- aka Blackbeard -- reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder's paradise, the island is unlike any other and presents a mounting threat to international commerce. To combat the threat, skilled undercover assassin Tom Lowe is sent to take down Blackbeard, but the closer he gets, the more enthralled with the community he becomes.
Luther creator Neil Cross is on board to write and executive produce alongside husband-and-wife duo Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (The Kite Runner) as well as Ted Gold (Three Rivers). The drama hails from Parkes/MacDonald Productions, indie studio Georgeville Television, Reliance Entertainment/Motion Picture Capital and Universal Television. Sierra/Engine Television will handle international distribution.
House's Hugh Laurie previously had the offer to star in the drama but could not commit. He remains one of pilot season's most sought-after actors.
"Over the last three decades, John Malkovich has occupied a singular place in the world of international film, theater and even opera," Parkes said. "We're awed by the opportunity to bring his brilliance to the small screen -- particularly in service of the character of Blackbeard, as so brilliantly conceived by Neil Cross."
Crossbones marks Malkovich's scripted TV debut. He earned Academy Award nominations for his supporting turns in features In the Line of Fire and Places in the Heart. His credits include Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Secretariat and Jonah Hex. On the producing side, the Principato Young-repped actor's credits include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Young Adult and Juno.
A premiere date for Crossbones has yet to be announced.