With Three Series Adaptations in the Works, Jules Verne Is Really Hot Right Now

Not a single episode of Around the World in 80 Days, an eight-episode adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, has aired yet, but it’s already been renewed for a second season. The series, which stars David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, took a seven-month break from filming last year due to the pandemic, but is finally coming to screens in January (on BBC One in the UK and Masterpiece PBS in the US).

But the producers also have a second Verne adaptation on their hands. Slim Film + Television and Federation Entertainment announced they’re also teaming up for Journey to the Centre of the Earth, with Around the World writer Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) as showrunner.

And, of course, there’s a third Verne incoming from a different corner: Disney+’s Nautilus, starring Shazad Latif as a Captain Nemo with a frustratingly changed backstory.

No details have been announced about Journey to the Centre of the Earth, but Around the World in 80 Days has a whole cast of regulars and guest actors that includes Ibrahim Koma (As Far As I Can Walk) as Passepartout and Leonie Benesch (Babylon Berlin) as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue, a journalist whose character seems like a nod to real-life journalist Nellie Bly, who in 1889 undertook her own 72-day global adventure inspired by Verne’s novel.

The plot is fairly well explained by the title, but in case that wasn’t clear enough, it’s mentioned at least twice in the trailer that Fogg and his companions intend to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. The trailer also features Tennant saying “No!” in that drawn-out, extremely David Tennant way and a bit of goofy comedy involving a fly in his “actual eye”; it’s leaning pretty hard on the idea that Phileas Fogg is really actually not the least bit cut out for a life of adventure. But Tennant, playing Fogg as cheerily out of his depth, is certainly cut out for this role. He follows in the footsteps of many, including Pierce Brosnan and Steve Coogan, who played Fogg in a 1989 miniseries and generally reviled 2004 film, respectively.

Around the World in 80 Days premieres January 2nd on Masterpiece PBS.


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