After casting newcomer Laurie Davidson as a young Shakespeare in January, TNT announced Wednesday it has ordered 10 episodes of the actor’s period drama Will.
The series, set to air in 2017, filters the tale of a young William Shakespeare through an alternative lense, chronicling his rise to prominence amid the seductive, violent 16th century theater scene – complete with a contemporary soundtrack.
In addition to Davidson, the series will star Olivia DeJonge (The Visit), Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Mattias Inwood (The Shannara Chronicles), Jamie Campbell Bower (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), and Ewen Bremmer (Trainspotting). Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby) and Golden Globe-nominated director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) will executive produce alongside Alison Owen (Elizabeth), Debra Hayward (Love Actually), Vince Gerardis (Jumper), Howard Braunstein (The Informant!), and Louise Rosager.
“Will has an energy and style that is unlike anything else on television today,” Sarah Aubrey, TNT’s EVP of original programming, said of the project via press release. “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.”
The network also announced Wednesday it has cast Niecy Nash (Getting On, Reno 911, Scream Queens) in the pilot for Claws, a previously-announced comedy revolving around the treacherous lives of five Floridian manicurists. In addition, TNT ordered a pilot for another period drama, Civil, about a second American Civil War. Claws will be executive produced by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, who previously worked together on the screenplay for the 2012 film Celeste & Jesse Forever, while Civil will be directed by seven-time Emmy-nominee Allen Coulter (Damages, Nurse Jackie) and executive produced by Oscar-nominee Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan).
TNT has recently added several fiction programs to its slate, with the gritty drama Animal Kingdom, starring Ellen Barkin, premiering June 14 ahead of the Michelle Dockery-headlined Good Behavior this fall. The channel plans to add an extra 10 minutes of story to each episode of Animal Kingdom and Good Behavior, trimming commercial inventory in the process.
In 2017, TNT plans to premiere The Alienist, a thriller based on Caleb Carr’s book about a New York serial killer in the late 1800s, and a Tales from the Crypt revival featuring a new version of the Crypt Keeper and a block of horror programming executive-produced by M. Night Shyamalan.
“The powerhouse reach of TNT is broadening, with five new originals and a vibrant development pipeline,” Kevin Reilly, president of TNT and TBS, said in a statement. “The word is out before we have even premiered our first show: We’re reaching for something special – taking creative risks with some of the best talent out there and pushing for the best viewing experience on ad-supported TV. And we’re just getting started.”
Watch the new trailer for TNT’s Will in the video above.