TNT’s moving forward with Will, a period drama about a young William Shakespeare starring Laurie Davidson. The network’s ordered a 10 episode first season of the series from executive producers Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby), Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth), Alison Owen, Debra Hayward (Love Actually), Vince Gerardis (Jumper), Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) and Louise Rosager. Kapur directed the pilot from a script by Pearce. In addition to newcomer Davidson, the cast includes Olivia DeJonge, Colm Meaney, Mattias Inwood, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Ewen Bremner.
Will is set premiere in 2017.
“Will has an energy and style that is unlike anything else on television today,” said Sarah Aubrey, executive vice president of original programming for TNT. “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 Plot: Will opens with a young William Shakespeare (Davidson) just arriving onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London. It is in this seductive, violent world that his raw talent faces rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous sideshows. This is the exciting, dangerous and contemporary version of Shakespeare’s life, played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.
Attracted to Will’s naïve genius is Alice Burbage (DeJonge), the talented, beautiful and rebellious daughter of James Burbage (Meaney), the carpenter with a vision to build the first theater in London since Roman times. Despite being the daughter of an impresario, Alice is forbidden by society from pursuing a career in the theater. Her brother Richard Burbage (Inwood), is innately talented, but too much in love with himself and prone to overact. A chance encounter at the theater leads him to team up with Will in what would soon become the greatest actor-writer partnership the world has ever seen. Rounding out Will’s cast of characters are playwright, poet and chief Shakespeare rival Christopher Marlowe (Bower) and wealthy and notorious law enforcer Richard Topcliffe (Bremner).