Spotlight: Stars Coming to MASTERPIECE
If you love A-list talent, MASTERPIECE is the place for you! An astonishing slate of award winners and fan favorites including Theo James, Helen Hunt, Sean Bean, Diana Rigg, Hugh Laurie and others will be gracing the MASTERPIECE screen in the coming months. Get the full rundown.
One of the big screen’s most magnetic stars is coming to MASTERPIECE in Sanditon, based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. Best known as Tobias “Four” Eaton in the Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant), and as the short-lived Kemal Pamuk in Downton Abbey, James will star as Sidney Parker in Sanditon. Parker, a moody and complicated self-made man, is confident and even irascible. But when young Charlotte Heywood unexpectedly arrives at the seaside resort of Sanditon, Parker finds himself undone by this spirited, opinionated young woman. “I love the complexity of the character,” James said. “At first, he is very guarded. It is his personality. He lost a love when he was very young, and that defined him. So he decided to become an outlier and not rely on anyone else.” Adapted by Primetime Emmy Award winning writer Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit).
The Academy Award winner (As Good as It Gets) and Primetime Emmy Award winner (Mad About You) comes to MASTERPIECE for the first time in the epic World War II drama, World on Fire. Hunt portrays American broadcaster and journalist Nancy Campbell, who is driven to tell the real and often forbidden stories from the frontlines of Warsaw in 1939. For Hunt, World on Fire is an ambitious project with massive scope. “Not only is it one of the biggest projects I have worked on, it’s one of the biggest television projects ever made I suspect,” Hunt said. The ambitious and riveting World on Fire premieres on MASTERPIECE Sunday, April 5, 9/8c.
Actor Sean Bean first stormed onto the MASTERPIECE screen as Richard Sharpe in the hard-hitting action series Sharpe, based on the books by Bernard Cornwell. But the adventures haven’t stopped for Bean who has appeared in Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and many other adrenaline-fueled films and television shows. In World on Fire, Bean takes on a very different role as Douglas Bennett, a father whose experiences of war have made him an ardent pacifist. But as his own children go off to the war, Bennett is left both bereft and brave. “Douglas was involved in the First World War and was so mentally damaged by shell shock that it has an influence on how he viewed everything to do with the Second World War,” Bean said. “He doesn’t believe in war as a means of achieving objectives. He thinks there should be negotiation and people should be trying to communicate.”
Jonah Hauer-King has been the subject of a royal amount of attention since it was recently announced that he will star as Prince Eric in a live action version of The Little Mermaid. MASTERPIECE fans who may remember Hauer-King as Laurie Laurence in Little Women, will get a double dose of the actor in 2020: First as Paul Wilcox in Howard’s End, then as Harry Chase in World on Fire. Chase’s life undergoes a dizzying array of changes as the Nazi threat spreads across Europe, but he remains an absorbing and thoughtful character. “I was really drawn to Harry because of the level of depth that he has in him,” Hauer-King said. “He’s a very complex character. I don’t think he’s an archetypal hero at all, and that’s one of the best thing about Pete’s [Bowker] writing.”
Perhaps no other actor has as unique a history with MASTERPIECE as Diana Rigg. The theater, film and television star notably served as the host of MASTERPIECE Mystery!, taking over for Vincent Price. Recently, Rigg appeared as the Duchess of Buccleuch in Victoria. For Rigg, public television is also a family affair. Her daughter, Rachel Stirling, was seen in Inspector Lewis, Churchill’s Secret, and most recently, The Bletchley Circle. Now, Diana Rigg returns to MASTERPIECE in a lush new version of the classic, All Creatures Great and Small. Rigg will play Mrs. Pumphrey, the memorable owner of the Pekingese, Tricki-Woo. No airdate has been announced for All Creatures Great and Small, but make sure to subscribe to the MASTERPIECE email newsletter for the latest updates.
Harry Potter fans, get ready! The actor who played Neville Longbottom is coming to MASTERPIECE! Matthew Lewis will star as Hugh Hulton, a rich landlord, in All Creatures Great and Small. Lewis joins Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West (Mr. Selfridge), Anna Madeley (The Child in Time) Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells in Corfu) and others in the exciting ensemble cast. “This is exactly the right ensemble cast to deliver the warmth, wit and charm of All Creatures Great and Small,” said MASTERPIECE’s Rebecca Eaton. “Like the original, this new series will capture the hearts of MASTERPIECE viewers.”
Over a more than 40-year career, Hugh Laurie has had a slew of hit movies and TV series to his name. Likely most recognizable for his eight-year-run as Dr. Gregory House on House, fans will also remember him for roles in Veep, The Night Manager, and others. MASTERPIECE fans may recall Laurie’s role as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster. Laurie will return to MASTERPIECE in Roadkill, alongside Helen McCrory. Written by David Hare, Roadkill is a political thriller about Peter Laurence, a self-made politician. Laurence’s life is falling apart, but will he be able to out-run his secrets? No airdate has been set for Roadkill, but subscribe to the MASTERPIECE email newsletter for updates.