‘Crossbones’ Trailer: John Malkovich is Blackbeard on NBC

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 23rd, 2014 at 5:01 am,

With The Blacklist, NBC bet heavily on James Spader’s ability to captivate an audience while elevating a story about international intrigue. It was a show that very well could’ve wilted with the wrong leading man.

With Crossbones, the network is making a similar gamble with another star on a show that looks like it may be more expensive with potentially less broad appeal, but after viewing the first trailer for NBC’s upcoming pirate adventure drama, it looks like series star John Malkovich will have a fair amount of help.

Richard Coyle, a UK actor who has dabbled on this side of the pond, is best known for his work in Grabbers and for his electric turn in the Pusher remake. With Crossbones, he has a chance to really shine opposite Malkovich’s Blackbeard, taking part in a chess match while playing a supposed physician who, according to NBC’s synopsis, poses a real risk to the pirate king’s dominion.

crossbones debut trailer 570x294 Crossbones Trailer: John Malkovich is Blackbeard on NBC

Check out the synopsis below:

It’s 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other on earth – and a mounting threat to international commerce.

To gain control of this fearsome society, Tom Lowe, a highly skilled undercover assassin, is sent to the pirates’ haven to take down the brilliant and charismatic Blackbeard. But the closer Lowe gets, the more he finds that his quest is not so simple. Lowe can’t help but admire the political ideals of Blackbeard, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds – and no law. But Lowe is not the only danger to Blackbeard’s rule. He is a man with many villainous rivals and one great weakness – a passionately driven woman whom he cannot deny.

Written by Luther creator and occasional Doctor Who scribe Neil Cross, Crossbones will occupy the 10pm timeslot that currently belongs to Hannibal when it premieres at the end of next month.

crossbones debut trailer coyle Crossbones Trailer: John Malkovich is Blackbeard on NBC

That timeslot and the show’s place on the network’s summer schedule don’t inspire faith, but those old ideas are starting to fade after the success that CBS found last summer with Under the Dome.

Will NBC be that lucky? We’ll have to see more than a trailer to form a solid opinion, but right now, Crossbones looks like an epic and fun summer series that might have more going for it than its intriguing star.


Crossbones premieres May 30th, 2014 @10pm on NBC.

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. Well, a white-billy-goat-bearded grandpa that is supposed to look like our traditonal idea of Blackbeard? oh well….
    As for the trailer, this looks like a series that might be worth a watch, but not resemble much of anything we traditionally think of when we think of a stereotype pirate show, which was also my reaction to Black Sails. Worth a watch, maybe good, maybe bad, maybe both…but preconceived notions will fly out the window,
    Well, we’ll give it a watch and see what we think as time goes on.
    In the meantime, since pirates seem to be a bit in vogue, maybe someone will eventually do something new with Raphael Sabatini’s Captain Blood (or The Black Swan, or The Seahawk)?! (Taking that a bit further…it would be nice to see a weekly series about The Three Musketeers, done traditionally and with respect for Dumas’ work of the same name!).

  2. In 1715, Blackbeard would have been about 35 years old (and he died just 3 years later).

    I have no problem with John Malkovich playing an older pirate warlord character, but if you’re going to base your show on a real historical figure then why not at least try to get some of your facts straight.

  3. This may well be worth a watch for the 2 leads mentioned, Richard Coyle is gererally pretty good in everything I’ve seen him in over here in Blighty. I’m interested to see how Mr Malkovich manages to do Blackbeard’s Bristolian accent (see the cut scenes featuring Blackbeard in ‘Blag Flag’ if you don’t know what I mean).

    @goldilocks – check out a recent BBC series caled The Musketeers for a halfway decent take, which pays respect to the source material.

    • @brummiemike: Thanx for the info. I made a note of it, and will give it a peek. Always did kind of like “swashbuckler-ish” books and shows!

  4. i couldnt really get into Black Sails, i went in hoping there would be more action in Black Sails but it was a character driven show and pretty much all the characters got developed in season 1, but ill give it until season 2 to see if my mind changes on it…Crossbones looks like its gonna be go more of a political route, from the synpsis and trailer it looks like Blackbeard is basically in charge of everything and everyone on the island Dictator style but it could be cool or it could bomb, ill give this a watch but i feel like this will get cancelled after season 1

    • As someone who always got their concept of pirates (more fictional/traditional/common concept than historical, although I read alot of that too) from the “Treasure island”-style of presentation, I found Black Sails a bit less than satisfying. Having said that, though, I will mention I only saw the first episode on the website, and plan to watch the rest of the series on Netflix, so perhaps I formed an opinion too soon on too scanty evidence of whether this series will strike a chord with me or not. Time will tell with further viewing.

  5. Who sings the song in the background?
    Cover of Born to be wild.

    • The person singing in the background music. Is known as Blu Holliday!

  6. Didn’t Malkovich have a black beard in one of the pictures they released?

  7. As ridiculous as Black Sails is/was ( complete inept time line of the “Flying Gang” and mixing Stevenson’s fictional “pirates” with actual history..( no we had no birds, walking the plank or maps of X marks the bloody spot.) That show seemed to be more of a joke then based on anything real. However with a brilliant cast and writers, the re-telling the myths who have been expelled the past few years on recent discoveries with the Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Whydah from Bellamy…..Crossbones may save the day in regards to Pirates on a small screen. As Teach died in 1717, before he did surrender his ways in NC…but still ruled with an iron fist and quickly returned to his piratical influence. He sailed with Hornigold and Bellamy but grew tired of not spilling any blood. He was brilliant and ruled with intimidation. Mr. Malkovich is perfect for this role as if you do your research, ” a re-telling and imagery” of what actually happened. Of course the producers have filled in the blanks…Legend says after he faked his death and sinking his own ship, he did change his appearance to throw off the authorities, but with a huge ego he could not really abandoned his persona that made him famous ……but the main this this has going for it is No GD Michael Bay!

  8. Is this a spinoff of Bones?

  9. So blackbeard doesnt have a black beard? why not just make him an original character since he doesnt share any physical characteristics with the pirate of legend. wheres he gonna put all those burning embers?

    • “Burning embers”…hmmmm.
      Blackenedbutt the Pirate?!
      Burnedbum the Pirate?!
      I could be on to something here…!

    • Ser….above look. After he sank the QAR and faked his death he changed his appearance.