Tim Roth has signed on to star in David Cronenberg‘s developing TV series, Knifeman. Knifeman is based on Wendy Moore‘s biography about 18th century surgeon John Hunter; when the project was announced, I longed for a period piece. But Deadline says Roth will play “John Tattersall, a radical, self-educated surgeon who will go to unorthodox lengths to uncover the secrets of the human body.” So it looks like Hunter will be the inspiration, not the character. Too bad, but given the premise and Cronenberg’s involvement, Knifeman still sounds like something more than your typical medical drama. Skipping the pilot process, Media Rights Capital ordered the show straight to series and plans to shop it out to networks soon. Roth is all in on Knifeman, which means he’ll bow out as star of the drama project he was developing with Lie to Me showrunner Alex Cary—Roth will stay on as producer.
Cronenberg will direct the first episode from a script by Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights) based on a story Jones conceived with Ron Fitzgerald (Friday Night Lights). Cronenberg, Jones, and Fitzgerald will produce alongside Sam Raimi, Josh Donen, Robert Zotnowski, and Renee Tab. Hit the jump for a synopsis of Moore’s biography, The Knife Man.
In an era when bloodletting was considered a cure for everything from colds to smallpox, surgeon John Hunter was a medical innovator, an eccentric, and the person to whom anyone who has ever had surgery probably owes his or her life. In this sensational and macabre story, we meet the surgeon who counted not only luminaries Benjamin Franklin, Lord Byron, Adam Smith, and Thomas Gainsborough among his patients but also “resurrection men” among his close acquaintances. A captivating portrait of his ruthless devotion to uncovering the secrets of the human body, and the extraordinary lengths to which he went to do so—including body snatching, performing pioneering medical experiments, and infecting himself with venereal disease—this rich historical narrative at last acknowledges this fascinating man and the debt we owe him today. [Amazon]