John Malkovich to Play Blackbeard in NBC's 'Crossbones'

John Malkovich Crossbones NBC

When NBC announced plans to take to the high seas last May with the action-adventure series Crossbones, casting had yet to materialize on any of the major roles, despite the program receiving the green light from the network.

Late last year, however, reports circulated that former House, M.D. star Hugh Laurie was in talks to make a return to television as the fearsome pirate Blackbeard. Apparently, those talks failed to amount to anything, as it was recently announced that Emmy winner and two-time Academy Award nominee John Malkovich has signed on for the role.

Malkovich will play Edward Teach, otherwise known as the terrifying pirate Blackbeard, who “ruled over the pirates, thieves and ne’er-do-wells on the Bahamian island of New Providence." The 10-episode NBC series will be the first regular series work for Malkovich, who is primarily known for his feature film roles in movies like Dangerous Liasons, Con Air and, of course, Being John Malkovich.

Most recently, the actor appeared as General Grigio in the romantic zombie apocalypse film Warm Bodies. However, Crossbones won't be Malkovich's first foray into television work. The actor has also won acclaim for his work in television movies such as HBO's RKO 281 and his Emmy-winning turn opposite Dustin Hoffman in the 1985 CBS version of Death of a Salesman.

If anything, Malkovich has proven himself capable of tackling roles both big and small and infusing them with a great deal of energy while layering characters with his own brand of offbeat humor – like he did in RED (a favorite here at Screen Rant) as the unstable, but extremely dangerous Marvin Boggs. That kind of range and ability will not only serve Crossbones well in terms of talent, but it will also offer the series some significant star power to help secure audiences' interest early on.

John Malkovich Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis in RED

What precisely convinced the actor to climb aboard the project is unclear, but Malkovich may have been lured to the adaptation of Colin Woodard's The Republic of Pirates in part by the talents of Luther creator Neil Cross, who will serve as the writer and co-executive producer on Crossbones. In addition to his work on Luther and the BBC series Spooks, aka MI-5, Cross recently was credited as a co-writer on the horror film Mama – which, along with the pledge to introduce audiences to “the true legend” of “the most notorious pirate to ever sail the earth,” should provide a solid base as to the kind of storyline we might expect from Crossbones.

As one might guess, there will be more to the series than simply the presence of Blackbeard and whatever nefarious dealings he finds himself in charge of. Reportedly, there will also be a major character by the name of Tom Lowe at the forefront of the storyline. Although the role of Lowe has yet to be cast, the character is described as "a highly skilled undercover assassin, [who] is sent to the buccaneers’ 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."

While many may lament the loss of Laurie, having Malkovich take on the role of the infamous Blackbeard will certainly help the upcoming series retain its allure. At any rate, having top-notch talent involved at this stage of Crossbones' development may result in other well-known actors seeking a part in the show, and elevating its profile even higher.

Screen Rant will be sure to update you with more news regarding Crossbones as it is made available.


Source: TV Line

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