Development is well underway for the Discovery Channel’s upcoming series Manifesto. Executive produced by Kevin Spacey, the show is based on the real-life story of the Unabomber, and the FBI’s efforts to track him. Centered on the character of FBI profiler Jim ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald (casting yet to be announced), Manifesto takes a new look at the techniques the agency used in their search to bring this domestic terrorist to justice. Dana Brunetti and Troy Searer are also producing, alongside Greg Yaitanes, who will also be director and showrunner. The script will be written by Andrew Sodroski.
Now, the first casting announcement has dropped for the upcoming Discovery Channel project, with veteran British actor Paul Bettany landing a key role in the series.
Variety announced today that Bettany will be playing the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. This will be Bettany’s first foray into US television, although the actor is well known for his work on the big screen. Most recently, Bettany joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the android Vision in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. For Manifesto, he’ll be on the other side of the hero/villain divide, as the man who planted and mailed multiple bombs in the US between 1978 and 1995, when Kaczynski was sentenced to life in prison. The Unabomber is also known for his anarchist manifesto (hence the name of the series), titled ‘Industrial Society and its Future’.
Bettany’s addition to the cast of Manifesto is big news for the upcoming series, as a star of his calibre is bound to garner attention for the project and bring in viewers. Described as “one of the great untold stories of our generation” by Yaitanes, the show is sure to appeal to fans of the various FBI, CSI and CIA dramas and procedurals currently on the air, so the addition of a big name like Bettany is a move to help Manifesto stand out from the rest. It will be fantastic to see the actor take on another complex role, and we are sure that he can rise to the challenge, given his experience playing everything from a rom-com lead to an evil priest. We’re also looking forward to seeing the normally clean-shaven actor grow a beard for the project.
Some, however, will wonder whether Bettany is the best choice for the role. Although he does bear a reasonable resemblance to the real-life Kaczynski (which will be much improved by a beard), as a Brit, Bettany will have to put on an Amerian accent for the part. He’s also relatively inexperienced in this medium, as he works primarily (and extensively) on movies, rather than TV. We are also yet to learn who will be cast in the lead role of FBI profiler Fitz for the series, a part which will presumably have a greater impact on the show than that of the Unabomber that Fitz is searching for.
As yet, there is no release date attached to Manifesto. We will keep you updated as the series is developed.