Showtime Announces ‘Penny Dreadful’ Cast, Hints At ‘Dexter’ Spinoff


At the Television Critics Association Press Tour, Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins announced the cast for their upcoming series “Penny Dreadful.” Josh Hartnett and Eva Green have signed on to the series which is said to include classic monsters like Frankenstein’s creature, Dracula, Van Helsing and Dorian Gray.

A subsequent press release sent out names Hartnett’s character Ethan Chandler, an American in Victorian London, and Eva Green playing Vanessa Ives, described, of course, as “seductive and formidable beauty.”

During the Showtime panel, Nevins offered a little more background about Harnett’s character, but only a little because writer John Logan wants to maintain some secrets. “Josh Hartnett plays an American fake cowboy I will say,” said Nevins. “In turn of the century London there were American cowboy shows that were very popular in London. He impresses the Victorian London society women and there’s an intense dark side to his character.”

Nevins was even more vague about Green’s character, but he noted that she is the central role. “Eva Green plays sort of the fulcrum of the show, who is in some kind of….” Nevins trailed off while internally debating whether to give more. He decided not to. “Let’s just say Vanessa.”

Nevins announced production on “Penny Dreadful” begins its production of eight episodes in October, expecting to air in the springt. “Logan has already written all 8 hours,” related Nevins. “We’ve secured Juan Antonio Bayona to direct [the pilot].”

Tonally, Bayona represents the show’s commitment to horror. “It’s an interesting mix of genres,” explained Nevins. “It’s literary horror. It’s really smart and psychological but we’re not going to be gentle with the horror. We hired a true master horror director. If anybody’s seen The Orphanage, he is a great horror technician as well as being a great actor’s director. I think it’s going to scare the s*** out of people and be really creepy and interesting. I think it will resonate with people who are watching ‘Homeland’ and ‘Ray Donovan’ which is more today social realism.”

There wasl no casting news on the characters of the monsters, but Nevins discussed Logan’s vision for them. “It’s a true monster show where the monsters aren’t going to look like any traditional pictures you have in your mind from any old movies of Dracula or Frankenstein. It’s going to feel much more grounded in real characters.”

Nevins also announced a new deal with Dexter showrunner Scott Buck. “We’re going to continue our relationship with Scott Buck. We have for us made a rare overall deal to keep him in the family.”

At the very end of his panel, Nevins hinted that Buck could create a “Dexter” spinoff. “We announced a deal with Scott Buck today. Draw your own conclusions.”

Asked about the decision not to continue “The Borgias” or produce a conclusion movie, Nevins reiterated that “The economics of it just didn’t make sense so we didn’t move forward.” He said he did see “Borgias” protesters waiting for him at the hotel where TCA press tour takes place, but they didn’t seem like true “Borgias” fans.

“As I was pulling in today, there was one protester out there and I opened my window and asked what he thought of the finale. He said, ‘I haven’t seen it.’ Apparently he was a paid protestor which I was a little disappointed [by]. I thought that maybe we could borrow some of the people from ‘Reign’ to beef up their ranks.”

For app users, Nevins announced a new feature for Showtime Anytime. In addition to on demand titles, the app will now allow viewing of the live Showtime feeds. “As of today, subscribers nationwide can watch our east and west coast feeds live on Showtime Anytime.”