Hugh Laurie's days as a television star go back well before he started playing the misanthropic Dr. Gregory House on House M.D.. In fact, as far back as the mid-1980s, he was making a name for himself on such cherished British comedy series as Black Adder the Third, Blackadder Goes Fourth, Jeeves and Wooster and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Nonetheless, it was the role of Vicodin-popping diagnostician House that earned Laurie numerous awards, accolades, and a larger fan following.
Earlier this year, the actor was reported to be circling a role in the RoboCop reboot - which would've been his first major project, following the House series finale. However, a deal failed to materialize. Now, Laurie is instead in talks to return to the small screen for NBC's high sails adventures series, Crossbones.
Crossbones is a swashbuckling action-adventure series about the infamous English pirate Blackbeard, as is being written by Neil Cross (creator of the Golden Globe-winning BBC TV series Luther, starring Idris Elba). Deadline reports that Laurie has entered negotiations to portray Blackbeard, in a move that would reunite him with Universal TV - not to mention, allow the actor to speak with his real accent.
Here is the site's description of the show:
The 10-episode Crossbones is set in 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (Laurie), 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.
Themed shows tend to move in packs, so it's no surprise that Crossbones isn't the only pirates-based TV series that will be docking in the foreseeable future. Case in point: Starz is currently developing a Michael Bay-produced show called Black Sails, which revolves around the adventures of Captain Flint and Long John Silver two decades before the events of Treasure Island.
Blackbeard (the character) has showed up onscreen several times over the years, though often in more comical fashion on such shows as Doctor Who (way back in the 1960s) and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, in addition to a couple appearances on The Simpsons. Moreover, the last live-action portrayal of Edward Teach was in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, where he was played by Ian McShane (who came off as somewhat disinterested, sorry to say).
Point being, it would be enjoyable to see a more serious and grisly portrait painted of the notorious pirate, and Laurie is certainly up to the task. Most everything that Cross creates tends to be genuinely gritty and intense in design, so you can expect as much with Crossbones - even though, of course, it won't have as much leeway as a cable television series like Black Sails.
More on Crossbones as the story develops.