Revealing the first castings for Penny Dreadful — a “totally fascinating” eight-episode “literary horror” series being penned by film vet John Logan and helmed in part by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) — he said that Josh Hartnett (The Faculty) will play an American “fake cowboy” who enchants the ladies of Victorian era London, while Eva Green (Camelot) has been cast as Vanessa, a character Nevins described as “the fulcrum” of the super-secretive series before catching himself and withholding further details.
Penny Dreadful, which will also feature Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the Dracula novel, starts production in October to debut as soon as spring 2014. Nevins lauded the project as “smart and psychological, but we’re not going to be gentle with the horror. I think it’s going to scare the s–t out of people.”
In other Showtime casting news, Nevin shared that Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation) has landed the female lead in Trending Down, a new comedy starring Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman as a man facing obsolescence after his ad agency is taken over, while Ruth Wilson (Luther) will star opposite Dominic West in The Affair, a drama about how infidelity impacts two marriages.
Also discussed during Nevins’ Q&A session at TCA:
EPISODES SCHEDULED | Matt LeBlanc’s long-MIA comedy will return with new episodes on Jan. 12, joined by House of Lies and Shameless on Sunday nights. Californication Season 7 in turn will be moved to the spring, where it will be paired with Nurse Jackie.
DEX APPEAL | Though he has only seen the script, Nevins said, “[Dexter] ends with great satisfaction….. I think it’s quite brilliantly built.” As such, the pay cabler inked “a rare overall deal” that will keep showrunner Scott Buck in the Showtime family. As for what that means for any rumored spin-off, the exec winked: “Draw your own conclusions.”
YEA, DONOVAN! | Nevin said that the experiment to bring back Dexter during the summer months, facing fewer male-skewing sports events and to help launch the new drama Ray Donovan, “worked phenomenally well,” with both shows reaping boffo ratings.
THE PLANE TRUTH ABOUT THE BORGIAS | Trying to clear the air on The Borgias‘ cancellation — news which promoted an organized fan effort to fly a “Save the Borgias” banner over the TCA lunch session — Nevins said, “We looked hard at doing a two-hour finale” but the economics “just didn’t make sense. I think it came to a good stopping place in Season 3.” (As for the actual aforementioned fly-by, he said, “I feel bad, the money that’s being spent [by fans].”)