UPDATED with trailer: TNT has picked up drama pilot Will, chronicling the wild 20s of William Shakespeare, to series with a 10-episode order for a 2017 premiere.
The project, which comes from Craig Pearce, the longtime writing partner of auteur filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, stars British newcomer Laurie Davidson in the title role. Elizabeth helmer Shekhar Kapur directed the pilot.
Will tells the wild story of young William Shakespeare’s (Davidson) arrival onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London – the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s described as a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s life, played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.
Pearce wrote the script and executive produces with Kapur, Alison Owen (Elizabeth) and Debra Hayward (Love Actually), as well as Vince Gerardis, Howard Braunstein and Louise Rosager. The project was previously set up at HBO and once had a straight-to-series order at Pivot.
Davidson is still in drama school, slated to graduate in July 2016. Co-starring alongside him are Olivia DeJonge, Colm Meaney, Mattias Inwood, Jamie Campbell Bower and Ewen Bremner .
“Will has an energy and style that is unlike anything else on television today,” said Sarah Aubrey, EVP of original programming for TNT. “Shakespeare was a 16th century rock star, and Will perfectly captures in contemporary terms what that must have felt like for the young writer and his fans. We are delighted to be working with such an extraordinary team of executive producers and cast in putting a fresh, bold spin on the story of Shakespeare.”
Here is a detailed description of the plot of the show followed by a teaser trailer below:
Attracted to Will’s naïve genius is Alice Burbage (DeJonge), the talented, beautiful and rebellious daughter of James Burbage (Meaney), the carpenter with a vision to build the first theater in London since Roman times. Despite being the daughter of an impresario, Alice is forbidden by society from pursuing a career in the theater. Her brother Richard Burbage (Inwood), is innately talented, but too much in love with himself and prone to overact. A chance encounter at the theater leads him to team up with Will in what would soon become the greatest actor-writer partnership the world has ever seen. Rounding out Will’s cast of characters are playwright, poet and chief Shakespeare rival Christopher Marlowe (Bower) and wealthy and notorious law enforcer Richard Topcliffe (Bremner).