William Hurt Cast in ITV's 'Beowulf'

AP Images
William Hurt

'Da Vinci’s Demons' actor Kieran Bew will play the lead role in the drama from 'Strike Back' writer James Dormer that is based on the ninth-century epic English poem.

Kieran Bew (Da Vinci’s Demons) will play the lead role in ITV’s re-imagining of epic drama Beowulf, while William Hurt (Damages, Humans) will play his mentor, Hrothgar, in the drama, the network said on Thursday.

Hurt won an Oscar for Kiss of the Spider Woman 

Joanne Whalley
(Wolf Hall) will take on the role of Rheda in Beowulf, created by Strike Back writer and executive producer James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman. The show will reimagine the famous ninth-century epic English poem of the same name.

The 13-episode series will be produced by ITV Studios and is set in the mythical Shieldlands, "a place of spectacle and danger populated by both humans and fantastical creatures."

A show description also says: "Essentially, a western set in the dark ages of Britain’s mythic past, the story unfolds on a huge canvas, filmed amongst the breathtaking beauty of England's North East."

Further castmembers include Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey), David Ajala (Black Box), Kirsty Oswald (Ripper Street) and Laura Donnelly (Outlander).

"The first episode sees Beowulf who, after spending many years wandering as a mercenary warrior, returns to Herot to pay his respects to the recently deceased Thane, Hrothgar — the man who raised him," a plot description says. "But when Herot is attacked by the terrifying monster Grendl, Beowulf has no choice but to hunt it down, winning favor with Herot’s new female Thane, and the wider community, in the process."

Said Dormer: "Hundreds of years ago our ancestors listened to the story of Beowulf because it was a great adventure story — it scared them, thrilled them, made them laugh and cry. But they also listened because they recognized themselves and their fears in it. By holding a mirror up to them this story helped define them and thus — us. So it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to make it relevant again for a wide audience."

Filming begins in England later this month.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai