BSkyB's Sky Atlantic to Co-Produce Showtime Horror Drama 'Penny Dreadful'

4:16 AM PST 09/16/2013 by Stuart Kemp
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
John Logan

"Doctor Who" veteran Billie Piper joins the cast, which includes Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green, in the thriller series executive produced by Sam Mendes.

LONDON – Showtime and the U.K.'s Sky Atlantic are partnering to produce psychological thriller series Penny Dreadful, with former Doctor Who star Billie Piper, Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Harry Treadaway (The Lone Ranger) and Reeve Carney (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) joining the cast.

Penny Dreadful, which weaves together classic horror origin stories, will star Josh Hartnett and Eva Green.

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The show will feature some of literature's most terrifying characters, including Doctor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula.

The collaboration is a first for Sky Atlantic, the BSkyB pay TV channel which carries U.S. hit shows such as Game of Thrones, and Showtime.

Hartnett (Pearl Harbor) will play Ethan Chandler, a charming American who finds himself trapped in the darkest corners of Victorian London, while Green (Casino Royale) will turn out as Vanessa Ives, a seductive and formidable beauty full of secrets and danger.

Piper, a familiar face to British TV viewers, will play the role of Brona Croft, an Irish immigrant in Victorian London trying to escape a dark past.

Carney will play Dorian Gray in a reprisal of Oscar Wilde's supernaturally attractive and decadent young hero, and Kinnear will play a mysterious character "of haunting intensity"

In a fresh version of Mary Shelley's inspired creation, Treadaway will take on the role of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights) also stars as Sir Malcolm, a hardened African explorer on a deeply personal quest.

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Created, written and executive produced by John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator) and executive produced by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road) both of U.K. banner Neal Street Productions, the project marks Logan and Mendes’ second major collaboration following Skyfall, the box-office-record-breaking James Bond movie, which Mendes directed and Logan co-wrote.

It is the pair's first-ever collaboration for television.

Logan said: "I'm thrilled to be bringing Penny Dreadful to life here in the U.K., where the show is set and was conceived over many years of wandering the streets of London. I think the talent we are bringing together for the show promises to create something memorable."

Sky drama chief Anne Mensah said: "We’re thrilled to be working with John Logan and Sam Mendes on what will be a stunning, mesmerizing and terrifying series on a cinematic scale -- all of which makes it perfect for Sky Atlantic."

David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks described Logan and Mendes as "two of the great storytellers of our time," adding "the visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their reimagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show."

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