February 25, 2013 at 07:39 PM EST

Jamie Bell has landed the starring role in AMC’s new period drama. The King Kong and Tintin actor has signed on to the network’s promising-sounding Turn pilot.

The show is set in 1778 and tells the story of a New York cabbage farmer (Bell) who bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring, an unlikely group of spies who help turn the tide in America’s fight for independence. In the pilot, Bell’s character is caught smuggling his crop on the black market and is then pressed into spying for the Patriot cause.

The show is based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring and is written by Nikita creator Craig Silverstein.

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