Nellie Andreeva

In a major casting coup for NBC, the network has landed Oscar-nominated John Malkovich to topline new action-adventure series Crossbones, from Luther creator Neil Cross and feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and Georgeville TV. He will play the notorious English pirate Blackbeard, a role Brit Hugh Laurie flirted with for a while but ultimately did not commit to. 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 (Malkovich), 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. The series, originally picked up for this midseason, has not been slotted and will likely launch next season.

Cross wrote the script and is executive producing with Parkes, MacDonald and Ted Gold for Parkes/MacDonald Prods; Georgeville Television, Reliance Entertainment/Motion Picture Capital’s new TV Studio; and Universal Television. “Over the last three decades, John Malkovich has occupied a singular place in the world of international film, theater, and even opera,” Parkes said. “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.” Chris Philip’s Sierra/Engine TV handles international distribution.

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