This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

It’s that time of year when the TV networks announce their new shows, and among them this year is Will, a drama about the life of a young William Shakespeare.

Don’t expect a fuddy-duddy documentary, however—or a dry-as-dust drama. Will looks set to be a rip-roaring take on 16th-century London, with all its violence, squalor, and temptations, and the young actor who arrives there determined to make his living in the theater.

The list of characters is as true-to-life as Tom Stoppard‘s 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love, which starred well-known Michael Jackson-impersonator Joseph Fiennes as the young bard. In this new version, theater impresario James Burbage is played by Colm Meaney (Hell on Wheels); Trainspotting‘s Ewen Bremner plays notorious Elizabethan law enforcer Richard Topcliffe; while Jamie Campbell Bower (whom you might recognize from Camelot and The Twilight Saga, or as the young Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) plays playwright and Shakespeare’s chief rival Christopher Marlowe.

Those familiar faces aside, the cast is positively bursting with newcomers: Olivia DeJonge (The Sisterhood of Night) plays James’ daughter Alice Burbage, and Mattias Inwood (The Shannara Chronicles) plays his son Richard Burbage, who went on to become one of the most feted actors of his day and the first performer of Shakespearean roles such as Hamlet, Othello and Richard III.

And then there’s Shakespeare himself. He’s played by British newcomer Laurie Davidson, who’s so new he hasn’t even graduated from drama school yet.

TNT describes the ten-part series as a “contemporary version” of Shakespeare’s life, with a modern soundtrack that reflects his brilliant recklessness. And with Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur behind the cameras, and Baz Luhrman‘s longtime writing collaborator Craig Pearce in charge of the script, the pilot looks as rich and dynamic as you’d expect:

It’s set to premiere on TNT in 2017, and in our view definitely deserves a look-in.

Read More
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.