EXCLUSIVE: David Tennant is to play explorer Phileas Fogg in an adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic Around the World in 80 Days.
The Doctor Who and Broadchurch star is fronting the eight-part drama, which is produced by Slim Film + Television.
Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, played by rising French actor Ibrahim Koma, take on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail Fix, played by The Crown’s Leonie Benesch, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.
The series is being adapted by writers including Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) and Caleb Ranson (Child of Mine) and filming is set to start in February 2020 principally in South Africa and Romania ahead of its launch at the end of 2020.
Steve Barron (The Durrells) will be lead director with Charles Beeson (The Mentalist) also lined up to direct a number of episodes. Executive producers are Simon Crawford Collins for Slim Film + Television and Lionel Uzan and Pascal Breton for Federation.
Around the World in Eighty Days is a Slim Film + Television and Federation co-production with additional co-production partners, Palladium Pictures in South Africa, and Daro Film, associate producer. It will air on France Télévisions, Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI. Seven West Media are also backing the production and are broadcasting the drama in Australia. Federation Entertainment will handle distribution rights to the series, which will air on the BBC in the UK.
Crawford Collins said, “We are thrilled to have such a talent as David to play this modern take on the iconic role of Phileas Fogg. Bigger than the hair-raising physical challenges of the adventure – from the scorching heat of the desert to skulduggery in Hong Kong and of course strikes in Paris – will be Fogg’s personal journey. I’m excited that viewers will also have the pleasure of watching the extraordinary talents of Leonie and Ibrahim in the roles of Fix and Passepartout, as they travel around the world. The series is full of adrenaline, heart and of course lots of fun, thanks to Ashley and our talented writing team. Viewers are in for something really special.”
Breton added, “Jules Verne’s most well-known and well-loved novel is coming to life again thanks to a brilliant trio of European actors, led by the great David Tennant. Having such an incredible cast obviously has us thrilled to produce and distribute, with our partner Slim, the first major family series presented by the Alliance of top European broadcasters.”
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