HBO has acquired three-part miniseries “Gunpowder,” which stars the premium-TV network’s “Game of Thrones” lead Kit Harington.
Harington, who will also executive produce the new thriller, plays his real-life ancestor Robert Catesby in the project, which is based on the 17th century events that led to Guy Fawkes Day. Catesby was the driving force behind the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 London, per HBO’s description (and, we suppose, history). A committed Catholic at a time when Protestant England persecutes Catholics relentlessly, Catesby’s refusal to abandon his religion brings him to the edge of financial, social and psychological ruin.
In addition to Harington, Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss, Liv Tyler, Edward Holcroft, Shaun Dooley, Tom Cullen, Robert Emms, Derek Riddell, Sian Webber, David Bamber and Kevin Eldon star in the miniseries, which is written by Ronan Bennett and directed by J Blakeson.
Mullan portrays head Jesuit Father Garnet, whose peaceful protestations have little effect on Catesby. Tyler plays Catesby’s astute and capable cousin, Anne Vaux, who becomes suspicious about his activities and fears the consequences will be the exact opposite of what Catesby intends.
Gatiss plays Robert Cecil, King James’ spymaster, who directs efforts to hunt down, torture and kill priests, while rank-and-file Catholics are subject to oppression and the loss of their property.
Set for a December premiere event, “Gunpowder” chronicles the evolution of the plot, the selection of collaborators to carry it out, the gathering of resources and the obstacles to its execution, even as Catesby’s team plays a deadly cat and mouse game with Cecil’s ruthless spy network.
“We are delighted to offer a platform for a project that is so close to Kit Harington’s heart,” said Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming. “Kit’s passion for and belief in ‘Gunpowder’ are evident in every frame of the miniseries.”
“Three years ago, Daniel West and I conceived and began developing ‘Gunpowder’ with Kudos and Ronan Bennett,” added Harington. “We are now thrilled to share this unique story with the U.S. audience. I can’t think of a better place to do that than my home at HBO.”
“Gunpowder” is produced by Kudos (part of Endemol Shine Group) in association with Thriker Films, originally for BBC One.
Episode 1 of “Gunpowder” will premiere on December 18 at 10 p.m. The other parts will air at the same time over the subsequent two nights.