Doctor Who's Rose Tyler is coming back to genre television! Billie Piper has just signed on to star in Penny Dreadful, a show set in Victorian London featuring Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and other terrifying figures of gothic literature. Can she do for gothic lit what she once did for the Daleks?
According to Deadline, Piper is playing "an Irish immigrant trying to escape a dark past." Josh Hartnett plays Ethan Chandler, "a man of action and daring who isn't afraid of violence. He's charming and brash, but there are demons behind his eyes. He's more complicated than he likes to admit." Eva Green, meanwhile, plays the heroine, Vanessa, who is described as "enigmatic with haunted eyes and utterly composed." Harry Treadaway plays Victor Frankenstein, and Reeve Carney plays Dorian Gray. Also starring in the show: Timothy Dalton and Rory Kinnear, who plays a character who has "haunting intensity."
Penny Dreadful is being written by John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) and produced by Skyfall director Sam Mendes. Britain's Sky Atlantic is co-producing the show with Showtime, in an effort to beef up their drama programming, and it seems as though Sky brought Piper on board. Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) is directing the first two episodes.
Here's the show's logline:
In PENNY DREADFUL, some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters – including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula – become embroiled in Victorian London. The series weaves together these classic horror origin stories as the characters grapple with their monstrous alienation.
This show sounds somewhat similar to Gothica, the failed ABC pilot where Dracula, Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray all rubbed elbows in modern-day New York. But where the ABC show was goofy and soapy, playing up the campiness of these gothic monsters running newspapers and digging into each other's dirty laundry, this new show will apparently play it somewhat straight. Although it's described as a "psychosexual horror series," which sounds a bit like American Horror Story. Plus, read all the character descriptions above, packed with "haunting intensity" and "haunted eyes." There's a whole lot of haunting going on.