Production is already underway on Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen pilot for HBO, but the series has added another crucial actor: Jeremy Irons. Deadline reports that the esteemed performer will be filling a lead role in the potential series, and while character details are being kept under wraps, he’s said to be playing the aging imperial lord of a British manor.
The HBO adaptation of Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel is likely to look quite different to fans of the source material, as Lindelof took to Instagram before filming began to caution fans not to expect a direct adaptation. Instead, Lindelof describes his take as more of a “remix” of the material, with new characters and settings. Regina King, with whom Lindelof worked on his previous HBO series The Leftovers, leads an impressive ensemble that also includes Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens, and Andrew Howard.
Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers) is directing the pilot, which was written by Lindelof. HBO is still on the hunt for another tentpole series to fill the void that will be left after Game of Thrones concludes next year, and Watchmen could help. Westworld has been a solid addition to HBO’s lineup, but ratings for the confusing sci-fi series’ second season were down about 16%, signaling a potential issue for HBO’s longterm plans. It’s unlikely Westworld will be cancelled, but HBO needs to ensure there’s enoufh to make subscribers stick around after Game of Thrones is gone, and it’s clear Westworld isn’t exactly a monster-sized hit.
Then again nothing can really compare to the insane ratings of Thrones, which is why it’s wise for HBO to hedge their bets on multiple potential tentpole series. Watchmen is still just in the pilot stage for now and there’s no guarantee it’ll be ordered to series—HBO has scuttled high-profile pilots before (see: Noah Baumbach’s The Corrections). But so far, the casting and talent involved in this thing is mighty impressive.
Irons most recently appeared in the underrated spy drama Red Sparrow and reprised his role as Alfred in Warner Bros.’ fairly terrible Justice League. A lead on a massive HBO series is well deserved for Irons, so here’s hoping Watchmen turns out well.