After some initial hangups, TNT’s eagerly awaited The Alienist series is getting ready to go before cameras, which will commence in Budapest early next year. In what will surely garner more eyes on the project, the network announced on Monday that Luke Evans (who’ll be seen next as Gaston in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast) and Daniel Bruhl (last seen as Colonel Zemo in Captain America: Civil War) will star.
Evans will play John Moore, a reporter and society illustrator for The New York Times. Described as “handsome, easy going, easily distracted, and prone to melancholy,” he’s summoned to the scene of a brutal crime, while under the surface he’s “drowning his sorrows and lamenting the loss of a former lover.” He helps his longtime friend, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Bruhl), to investigate a series of grisly murders.
Kreizler, meanwhile, is the titular alienist, someone who studies mental pathologies. To some, he’s considered a social pariah because of his profession and “careless intensity,” but his passion and “sophisticated sensibility” make him uniquely suited to track down the killer behind a string of “vicious, barbaric and ritualistic deeds.”
TNT first announced The Alienist in 2015, back when Cary Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1) was still on board to direct. Now that job falls to Jakob Verbruggen (Black Mirror), since budgetary debates continuously prolonged development. Fukunaga will still stay on the project as an executive producer, along with Eli Roth, Hossein Amini, Steve Golin, and Rosalie Sweden.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Alienist:
Based on the international best-selling novel by Caleb Carr, The Alienist is a psychological thriller set in the Gilded Age of New York City in 1896, a city of vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation. When a series of haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitutes grips the city, newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) and newspaper reporter John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are aided by a makeshift crew of singular characters, among them the intrepid Sara Howard, a young secretary on Roosevelt’s staff who is determined to become the first female police detective in New York City. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques, this band of social outsiders tracks down one of New York City’s first serial killers.