John Malkovich Is Blackbeard

For TV's Crossbones

John Malkovich

For a while there, it looked like Hugh Laurie could be sticking on some extra fake face fuzz, slapping on a hat and plundering the high seas as notorious pirate Blackbeard in NBC TV drama Crossbones. But while he considered the idea, he’s passed on the role. Still, the production team aren’t worried: they’ve secured John Malkovich instead.

Luther creator Neil Cross is overseeing the new show with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, and while it may be a surprise that Malkovich is set for TV, it’s not so odd for a couple of reasons. One, TV still offers some great roles and the chance to develop a character and two, Crossbones will be a limited series, with a 10-episode run initially.

Malkovich will be playing the diabolical Edward Teach, who rules over New Providence. A destination for all manner of thieves, ruffians, bandits and scum, it’s a rising threat to international marine commerce, but also happens to be America’s first real stab at functioning democracy.

“Over the last three decades, John Malkovich has occupied a singular place in the world of international film, theater, and even opera,” Parkes enthuses in a statement picked up by Deadline. “We’re awed by the opportunity to bring his brilliance to the small screen — particularly in service of the character of Blackbeard, as so brilliantly conceived by Neil Cross.”

The show should kick off later this year across the pond. Malkovich will be back on the big screen for Red 2, which is out on August 2.