ABC’s upcoming pilot vehicle “Gothica” is still only in pre-production, but it’s garnering a lot of buzz, partly due to its high concept premise, and partly due to the talent that’s orbiting it, both in front of and behind the camera.
British actress Janet Montgomery, whose past credits include the features “Black Swan” and “Our Idiot Brother,” as well as the TV shows “Human Target,” “Entourage,” “Made in Jersey” and “Dancing on the Edge,” plays Grace Van Helsing, a modern day journalist who takes over her family’s hometown newspaper with financial backing from Dorian Gray (Christopher Egan).
Egan, formerly often billed as Chris Egan, is an Aussie who has appeared in both movies (“Eragon,” “Resident Evil: Extinction” and “Letters to Juliet”) and TV shows (“Home and Away,” “Vanished” and “Kings”). Dorian Gray is the antihero protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” in which a young man achieves immortality through a supernatural portrait of himself, which ages and takes on the consequences of his dissolute lifestyle for him.
Welsh actor Tom Ellis plays Victor Frankenstein, a character whose name should be passingly familiar. Ellis, not a household name in the US, has nonetheless been a very busy TV actor in the UK. His credits include “EastEnders” (a very well-known show in Britain), “Suburban Shootout,” “Monday Monday,” “The Fades,” “Gates” and “Miranda.”
In “Gothica,” Frankenstein is seeking a way to bring his daughter back to life. Although he’s now married to Madeline Usher (as in “Fall of the House of...”) he used to be involved with Grace Van Helsing and is still in love with her.
Madeline Usher, by the way, will be played by Aussie actress Emma Booth, whose credits include a fair amount of Australian TV and the current feature “Parker,” starring Jason Statham. Roderick Usher is going to be played by “Fringe” alum Seth Gabel.
Raza Jaffrey, another BBC veteran, plays Jonathan Harker, a name well-known to Dracula fans. In Bram Stoker’s novel, Jonathan Harker is a young lawyer who travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula, a reclusive nobleman, arrange numerous real estate transactions in England. No word as of yet as to how he figures into this plot. Jaffrey has appeared in small roles in the features “Eastern Promises,” “The Crew” and “Sex and the City 2.” He’s been more prominent in the series “MI-5,” “Mistresses” and “Smash.” His TV movie appearances include “Sex, the City and Me,” “Sharpe’s Peril” and “The Accidental Farmer.”
Tracie Thoms, an up and comer who’s had a very busy last decade, plays Mina, another name from “Dracula.” She first appeared in the 2002 TV movie “American’s Most Terrible Things” and apparently hasn’t been out of work for more than 15 minutes at a stretch since then. A small smattering of her credits include the series “As If,” “Wonderfalls,” “Cold Case,” “Bandwagon: The Series” and “Harry’s Law.” She’s also appeared in the features “Rent,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Grindhouse: Death Proof,” “Descent,” “Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway,” “Safe House” and “Looper.”
Melissa George has just joined the cast as Fiona Hunter, one of the few characters on this show not lifted from classic gothic fiction. Apparently her character will be a formidable foil for several of the other main characters. Melissa George has also almost never been out of work in her career, which started in 1996 with the series “Home and Away.” Since then she’s done Australian (“The Slap”) and American TV (“Roar,” “Alias,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) as well as features (“The Amityville Horror,” “Derailed” and “30 Days of Night”).
The pilot “Gothica” is being directed by Anand Tucker, who has already directed the features “Hilary and Jackie,” “Shopgirl” and “Leap Year.” He’s helming from a screenplay by Matt Lopez, who prior credits are virtually all in features, including the Adam Sandler movie “Bedtime Stories,” “Race to Witch Mountain,” which starred Dwayne Johnson and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” starring Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel.
It’s currently believed that production will be taking place largely in the San Francisco area.