People in Salem, MA are dying for more information about the new HBO Salem Witch Trials show. So far, we don't know much, but it's still enough to get excited. I should still probably calm down though.
When I heard the top-notch English comedian Eddie Izzard was cast in the Jenji Kohan project, I knew he was going to be playing a villain and I am happy to announce that I was right! He will be playing Thomas Putnam, who many believe played a pivotal role in motivating and compelling the afflicted girls. This will be a great role for him, not just because every actor loves playing a bad guy, but because the uncompromising temperament of the Puritans is something that can come out in a character in a very subtle way that seems almost comedic. And knowing the feminist leanings of Kohan (creator of Orange is the New Black, and Weeds) and Izzard, we can only assume how the men in this show are going to be depicted - and rightly so, as the historical figures involved were not black-and-white "bad guys", but confused, ignorant, stubborn, complex characters. I think they know exactly what they're doing.
The project, which so far is only a pilot being co-produced by HBO and Lionsgate doesn't have a name yet. First it was being called "NEW WORLD" and now it is "THE DEVIL YOU KNOW". I'm not sure how this type of thing works, but I hope it gets more than a pilot, it sounds like a fantastic idea for a show, especially considering how hilariously bad WGN's Salem has been (don't get me wrong, I like watching it, but it's terrible). I've been able to obtain and read a synopsis of the pilot and, while the story certainly is not historically accurate, it seems to be a lot closer to what actually happened in 1692.
Gus Van Sant, will be directing. He's most well known for Good Will Hunting and Milk.
The role of Thomas Putnam's daughter, Ann, has also been cast and the tortured soul Mercy Lewis as well.
This is still in the very early stages and not something I should be freaking out about this much, but as with most things Salem related, I will be keeping on eye on how things progress and keeping you all updated - that is, if I can. You see, I also auditioned to be an extra in the show last week and I'm pretty sure if I get cast I am not allowed to talk about it anymore! Here's a picture of me at the casting call:
I might be a background Puritan!