Juan Antonio Bayona, the Spanish director who helmed 'The Impossible' and 'The Orphanage,' has signed on to direct the first two installments of the highly-anticipated Showtime project 'Penny Dreadful.'
Bayona, who directed Naomi Watts to an Academy Award nominated performance in 'The Impossible,' won the Emerging Visionary Award at the Chicago International Film Festival last year. He's going to have to be quite a visionary in order to bring the "psychosexual horror" of 'Penny Dreadful' to life.
Hollywood director Sam Mendes ('American Beauty,' 'Revolutionary Road') and Hollywood screenwriter John Logan ('Gladiator,' 'Skyfall') have teamed up on 'Penny Dreadful,' the first television project for both men. Set in Victorian London, 'Penny Dreadful' follows some of genre literature's most engaging and iconic figures--including Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, Dorian Gray, characters from "Dracula," and others--as they become embroiled in mystery and each other's lives. The term "penny dreadful" referred to a form of cheap, serialised fiction in the mid-19th Century, when literacy in England began to become more common. Each short piece was printed cheaply on poor paper stock, costing the reader one (old) penny--hence the name: they cost a penny and were largely accepted to be dreadful tales. These stories were aimed at the working class and featured sensational tales of crime, horror, suspense, romance and intrigue.
Production on 'Penny Dreadful' is slated to begin in London, UK, this fall. This project marks Bayona's first foray into television. Although he signed on for the first two of 'Penny Dreadful's planned eight episodes, he could very well end up helming more installments. Stick with TVRage for the latest on this intriguing and unique series.