Alan Ball's new HBO pilot casts first import, Ben Whishaw
Image Credit: Tony Lowe/PR PhotosBen Whishaw has been cast as the lead in True Blood creator Alan Ball’s new HBO pilot, All Signs of Death, EW has confirmed. Whishaw — who you might remember as what we described as “a vision of 19th-century emo tubercular hotness as the great Romantic poet John Keats” in 2009’s Bright Star — will play crime scene cleaner Webster Fillmore Goodhue.
Reviewing the book the story is based on, Charlie Huston’s 2009 crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, Stephen King spoke of Huston’s “morbid sense of humor and seemingly effortless ability to create scary/funny bad guys who make Beavis and Butthead look like Rhodes Scholars.” Sounds perfect for Ball. Of Web (ooh, we get to call him Web!), King said, “He pees his pants while trying to shield his girlfriend from a bullet. He’s scared but never cowardly, down but never completely out. He is, in short, a guy worth watching.”
Do you think Whishaw is the right man for the job? Having received rave theater reviews for playing Hamlet in 2004, you know the talent is there. (His feature credits also include Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There, and Layer Cake.) Watch a few interviews with him on YouTube, and you’ll find him talking about how he loves sad things in art (Oliver! is the first movie he remembers seeing, and he enjoyed watching Nancy’s death scene — he’s also funny!) and how he isn’t afraid to go dark (he played a serial killer in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). He can seem so laid back, and yet still have a nervous energy about him that keeps him interesting even when he’s silent. He’ll reference Brando in one sentence, and Jimmy Stewart in the next. He has a voice you’d want to listen to for an hour every week. And eyes that will look great in giant posters in the subway.
I say Ball’s winning casting streak continues. You?