DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will be leaning heavily into historical figures in season 3!
EW can exclusively reveal that Billy Zane has been tapped to play P.T. Barnum on the CW super series. The Titanic star will appear in one episode.
Executive producer Phil Klemperer has offered up a detailed description of the role that also offers insight on what’s in store for season 3:
“Obviously, we couldn’t resist putting Victor Garber and Billy Zane back on screen for the first time since the TITANIC.
“But I’ve wanted to bring Billy onto LEGENDS every since I saw him in a friend’s comedy pilot. I’m not sure that people know how funny Billy is, although we cast him as P.T. Barnum because we knew that he would be able to find the soul beneath the larger-than-life showman. Truth is, Barnum never said ‘there’s a sucker born every minute.’ He was less a conman, more the father of modern advertising. A guy who made things ‘go viral’ before that was a thing. Sure, in one sense, he’s the villain of our story, but in another, he’s just a guy who wants to put on a good show. Anyone who works in TV can relate to that, right?! Anyway, Billy seemed like the perfect guy to get that duality.
“The thing about history books is that they turn famous people into 2-D characters. This season on LEGENDS, we want to meet other famous figures from history, people like Barnum, people we think we know, so that we can find the aspects of them, the parts of their story, that the history books left out — we want to bring history to life by infusing it with heart, humor, and total absurdity (often at the same time).”
Zane is no stranger to the world of superheroes, having played The Phantom in the titular 1996 film. His credits also include Twin Peaks, Zoolander, and Back to the Future.
The news comes on the heels of Tala Ashe (American Odyssey) joining the cast as a new series regular. Ashe will play Zari Adrianna Tomaz, a new member of the team aboard the Waverider.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET this fall on The CW.