How many times over can you retell Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? There have been dozens of film, stage, and television adaptations, alternately casting the split-personality doctor as a present-day figure, a woman, or even Jack the Ripper. Now, British network ITV is offering up Jekyll & Hyde, a 10-part action/adventure series. While they’ve cast some unknowns in the lead roles, the themes will be very familiar to first-time viewers.
According to Deadline, Tom Bateman (Da Vinci’s Demons, The Tunnel) will embody Robert Jekyll, grandson of the original Dr. Jekyll. But in addition to dealing with his transformations into Mr. Hyde, Jekyll may also find an antagonist in Sir Roger Bulstrode. Played by character actor Richard E. Grant, Bulstrode heads the secret government department M10—or, as they’re called, “The Invisible Men.”
Your first thought may be M10, but we have a feeling we’re meant to take the name of “The Invisible Men” literally. So, whether the series will have spy or science fiction themes remains to be seen. The series promises to be a blend of mystery, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi—and superheroes?
Based on Deadline’s description of the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic, it sounds a lot like Bruce Banner and “The Big Guy”:
This Jekyll is a young, sensitive and naïve man of intellect and morality, well-meaning and somewhat repressed. He transforms into Hyde in moments of extreme anger, stress and when his or the lives of others are threatened. And Hyde is a totally different person: a superhero with super powers, great strength, speed and invulnerability. He is confident, risk-taking and lives life on the edge.
The series will also lean heavily on CGI to depict 1930s London smack dab in the middle of the monster movie craze (not to mention an obsession with Hollywood), with sleek cars on the streets. And what would a Jekyll and Hyde story be without a troubling love triangle? Natalie Gumede—who just appeared on Doctor Who’s 2014 Christmas special “Last Christmas”—will play a character known only as Bella, who will probably fall in love with both the sensitive Jekyll and superhero Hyde.
The last big Jekyll and Hyde series to come out of the UK was BBC One’s Jekyll, a six-part miniseries written by current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, in 2007. No word yet on Jekyll & Hyde‘s premiere date.