Penny Dreadful is an upcoming psychosexual horror TV series, produced by Sam Mendes. It will be much like a cross between the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Dark Shadows, taking place in the late 1800s, just before the turn of the century. The show will feature some iconic figures from gothic literature, including Dr. Frankenstein, (Harry Treadaway), and his monster, along with Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) and figures from the novel “Dracula”. The brief teaser trailer also hints at appearances from a werewolf.
The show will feature a cast of original characters, as well. Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night, Black Dahlia, Lucky Number Slevin, Black Hawk Down) will play Ethan Chandler, a brash, daring man of action who is not afraid to use violence but who is more complicated than he seems. Eva Green (Casino Royale) will be Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic woman who proves herself to be surprisingly formidable. Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Diary of a Call Girl) will play Brona Croft, an Irish immigrant trying to escape her dark past. Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights, License to Kill, the Rocketeer) will appear as Sir Malcolm, an experienced African explorer who is on a deeply personal quest. Helen McCrory ( Skyfall, Hugo, the Harry Potter franchise) will play a spiritualist named Madam Kali. Simon Russell Beale (MI-5, My Week With Marilyn) will portray Ferdinand Lyle, a quirky Egyptologist. And Danny Sapani (Blackout) will be Sembene, an ally of Sir Malcolm.
The title Penny Dreadful comes from a type of British fiction magazine that was produced in the late 1800s, that generally featured lurid, creepy serialized stories, appearing in installments over a number of weeks. Each edition cost one penny, hence the name.
Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) will direct Penny Dreadful‘s first two episodes. The eight-part gothic drama will air on Showtime in the USA, and on Sky Atlantic in the UK. The show will debut in 2014.