Netflix finalized a deal for more original content in the form of Eli Roth‘s horror mystery series Hemlock Grove towards the end of last year, and now the project is starting to lock down a cast. Netflix has just announced that Famke Janssen (X-Men) and Bill Skarsgard (Anna Karenina) have joined the cast of the series which is based on an upcoming horror novel of the same name by Brian McGreevy and is said to be set against the backdrop of our darkest myths, adolescent deceptions, ravenous relationships and rumors of a werewolf lurking about and aims to reimagine everything it means to be a monster as reflected in the struggle to be human. For more specifics on the plot and characters, hit the jump for details and the full press release.
The story starts with the body of a young girl, mangled and murdered in the shadow of the former Godfrey steel mill. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a biotech facility owned by the former steel magnates. Others believe the killer could be Peter, a 17-year-old Gypsy kid from the wrong side of the tracks, who tells his classmates he’s a werewolf. Or it could be Roman (Skarsgard), the arrogant Godfrey scion, whose sister Shelley is disturbingly deformed and whose mother, Olivia (Janssen), the otherworldly beautiful and controlling grand dame of Hemlock Grove.
Since original content is something new for Netflix, it will be interesting to see what kind of rating these shows getting only being available through Netflix Instant. Hemlock Grove will hit the service in early 2013, and I’m sure the advertising will be all over the place so people don’t miss it. Anymore, with people opting out of cable and using Netflix for a primary content provider, it shouldn’t be any different then a viewer paying for a channel like HBO to watch certain shows, especially with Netflix easily available on various devices for optimal TV viewing. Stay tuned as this project develops.
March 21, 2012—“Hemlock Grove,” a gripping tale of murder, mystery and monsters set in a ravaged Pennsylvania steel town, starring Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard and produced by Gaumont International Television, will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly, beginning early in 2013.
“Hemlock Grove” starts with the body of a young girl, mangled and murdered in the shadow of the former Godfrey steel mill. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a biotech facility owned by the former steel magnates. Others believe the killer could be Peter, a 17-year-old Gypsy kid from the wrong side of the tracks, who tells his classmates he’s a werewolf. Or it could be Roman (Skarsgard), the arrogant Godfrey scion, whose sister Shelley is disturbingly deformed and whose mother, Olivia (Janssen), the otherworldly beautiful and controlling grand dame of Hemlock Grove.
As the crime goes unsolved and outlandish rumors mount, Peter and Roman decide to find the killer themselves, confronting unspeakable truths about themselves and Hemlock Grove as the mystery unfolds.
“Eli Roth is a master of this genre and Brian McGreevy’s brilliant novel gives Roth a world where he can create his magic,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. “‘Hemlock Grove’ is a sly blend of J.D. Salinger and Mary Shelley and will appeal to a broad base of fans captivated by these rich characters and stunning visuals.”
“I’ve been waiting for years to dive into television, and Eric Newman and I founded Arcade to do elevated genre projects exactly like ‘Hemlock Grove’. Brian McGreevy’s novel blew me away, and the material lends itself perfectly to long format storytelling. ‘Hemlock Grove’ is smart, dark, complex, and at times terrifying,” said Eli Roth.
He added: “What’s most exciting to me is creating the series for Netflix, which as a feature filmmaker is like telling a story in a new medium. Netflix as a platform is the perfect hybrid of cinema, television, and social networking, with the creative freedom to go as dark as the story needs.”
The 13 episode first season of “Hemlock Grove” is Roth’s first foray into serialized drama as a director and executive producer. Roth created the Hostel franchise, directing seven major motion pictures, producing 13 and appearing in several hit films, including a stand-out role as Sgt. Donny Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”.
Janssen (Olivia Godfrey) is an actress, director and screenwriter who played Dr. Jean Grey in the global blockbuster “X-Men”trilogy and starred alongside Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis in Woody Allen’s “Celebrity”. Janssen can soon be seen in “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” alongside Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton and in “Taken 2” with Liam Neeson. Her debut film as a director and screenwriter, “Bringing up Bobby”, starring Milla Jovovich, Bill Pullman and Marcia Cross, opens in the United States in October.
Skarsgard (Roman Godfrey) is an up and coming Swedish actor, who will soon be seen alongside Keira Knightley and Jude Law in director Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina.” Previously, Skarsgard has played a wide range of roles in Swedish television and independent films, including the critically-acclaimed “Simon of the Oaks” directed by Lisa Ohlin.
“Hemlock Grove” is executive produced and written by McGreevy, author of the FSG Originals novel, and Lee Shipman. Other projects they have in development include the Bram Stoker adaptation “Harker” for Warner Brothers and Appian Way, the King Arthur epic “Pendragon” for New Regency, and “Zorro Reborn” for 20th Century Fox.
Also executive producing are Eric Newman, producer of such films as “The Last Exorcism,” “Dawn of the Dead” and “Children of Men,” Michael Connolly, co-producer of “How to Train Your Dragon,” and Mark Verheiden, co-executive producer of “Battlestar Gallactica” and other shows.
“It is an honor to be working with Eli Roth, a director whom I’ve admired for years, along with Brian McGreevy & Lee Shipman and the team at Netflix on this series,” commented Gaumont International Television chief executive officer Katie O’Connell. “Netflix is the perfect platform for this exhilarating reinvention of the gothic mystery story. From day one, our mandate at Gaumont International Television has been to the produce high-quality drama programming for the U.S. and international markets and ‘Hemlock Grove’ certainly fits the bill.”