In 2007, the BBC produced a superb six-episode series known as Jekyll. Loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the series was a high-drama, semi-horror story that placed an ancestor of the original - played by James Nesbitt - in the present day. Today we learned that Liongate is adapting the series for Hollywood, and that none other than Chris Evans is considering taking the lead role!
What Was Jekyll About?
Jekyll - written by Steven Moffat, of Doctor Who fame - introduced us to Doctor Tom Jackman, a married father of two. Jackman was an ancestor of Dr Jekyll, and the 'Hyde' persona had become unlocked, much to Jackman's horror. What followed was a brilliant psychodrama, with James Nesbitt portraying both personas. Where the 'Jekyll' was pleasant (although intense), the 'Hyde' was brutal and dangerous. It was a real challenge for Nesbitt, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for his success at portraying both characters. Jackman struggled to protect his family from Hyde's lustful attentions, but gradually Hyde broke through...
The series had a lot more than psychodrama, though. Moffat's script introduced us to a dangerous international conspiracy, one that had grown since the days of the original Jekyll and Hyde. Although many series and novels have revisited the idea of Jekyll and Hyde before, this added a fresh layer to the concept, and made Jekyll unique.
What Can We Expect From Jekyll?
Screenwriters Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry are adapting Jekyll's script - designed for an episodic format - to suit a movie. According to Deadline, Lionsgate has approached Chris Evans for the lead role. Evans is most famous for his ongoing role as Marvel's Captain America, but is known for his love of independent projects. So far, this has included the science-fiction Sunshine, the law drama with a difference Puncture, and Gifted (due out next year). Directed by Marc Webb, Gifted promises to be a highlight of Evans's career.
In a now-infamous interview with Variety, Evans suggested he was planning to leave acting behind.
“I’ve known for a while I wanted to direct, but (time) never really opens up. There’s another movie to do, there’s another acting job. It just got to a point where I was like, you know what — I have to do this.”
That said, recent comments suggest he's changed his mind, and we look likely to see a lot more of Chris Evans as an actor. This is sure to be a role that will fascinate him. On the one hand, the Tom Jackman persona is good but intense; on the other, the experience of portraying the villainous, lust-and-anger-fuelled Hyde would be a tremendous new experience for Evans. I personally think he's suit it perfectly.
Here's the irony, though; although it's been a long time since we've seen The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde adapted for the big screen, this is the second project in the works at the moment. Universal is famously working on developing a 'Monsters' Cinematic Universe, with Russell Crowe to play the character. It's funny the way Hollywood works...
I freely admit to being a huge fan of the original Jekyll series, and the idea of seeing it adapted for the big screen is one that I find absolutely thrilling. I reckon Chris Evans would shine in the role, too!
Do you want to see Jekyll adapted for the big screen? Let me know in the comments!