After three seasons too many of “hugging it out, bitch” and making fun of Kevin Connolly’s height, the impossibly charismatic Jeremy Piven is evidently prepping to sink his teeth into something a bit more hoity-toity. The 46-year-old actor is negotiating with UK network ITV to star in Mr. Selfridge, a historical mini-series that will chronicle the life of American Harry Gordon Selfridge and his considerable exploits in revolutionizing shopping in early twentieth-century Britain. Based on the book Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead, the ten-part series was created by Bridget Jones’ Diary scribe Andrew Davies and will be directed by Downton Abbey’s Jon Jones. Hit the jump for more.
From Deadline comes the news that Piven may star as the eponymous Mr. Selfridge. Selfridge was quite a ground-breaking fellow in his time, being among the first in the country to market buying stuff as a pleasurable experience instead of a chore, particularly to women. His store, Selfridge’s, included such previously rare amenities as restaurants, window displays and relaxation rooms. And the man himself had quite a penchant for wild parties, gambling and dalliances with showgirls. So yeah, I’m thinking Piven is the right man for the job.
Here’s a look at the synopsis from the Woodhead novel, Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge (via Amazon):
In 1909, the maverick American retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge opened the West End of London’s first dedicated department store to a blaze of glorious publicity – the culmination of the largest advertising campaign ever mounted in the British press.
No one understood the sex appeal of shopping better than Selfridge, and his fervent belief in consumerism as both sensual and theatrical entertainment ensured the success of his eponymous Oxford Street store.
But the ‘showman of shopping’ would eventually be undone by an insatiable addiction to gambling, extravagant mansions and even more extravagant mistresses. Thirty years after building his revolutionary store, Selfridge was ousted in a boardroom coup. The self-made millionaire died virtually penniless in 1947.
Set against the heady growth of twentieth century consumerism, Lindy Woodhead explores the rise and fall of the retail prince whose fusion of shopping and seduction has left a lasting legacy, symbolised by the towering Ionic columns of Selfridges.