The BBC is embarking on an adaptation of Ian McGuire's Booker Prize-longlisted whaling-era novel The North Water, and according to Deadline, it's nabbed Colin Farrell for one of the lead roles. And hoo boy, what a role.
Farrell's character, Henry Drax (no relation to the Guardian of the Galaxy), is a brutish sea dog, a harpooner whose killing is not limited to the whales he's ostensibly employed to hunt. In the novel, he's introduced murdering a man and beating up and raping a young boy. Like, I get that this is the 1850s, but yikes. Drax takes a berth on a rotting, failing whaling ship with disgraced ex-army surgeon and laudanum addict Henry Sumner (the protagonist of the story), who's understandably concerned at being in the company of rapists and killers. There's betrayal, survival, redemption (for Sumner), and insurance fraud at play in the story, and it all sounds rather grim.
Andrew Haigh will direct, and it would seem a bit of a departure from his previous films 45 Years and Lean On Pete. The series will be made up of three hourlongs and a 90-minute finale. Per BBC Drama Controller Piers Wenger, Farrell "will bring a blend of brutality and humanity to Andrew Haigh’s superb adaptation of this savage novel," which suggests - as you'd expect - that they might tone down the guy's nastiness a little for screen. Insane brutality can work on the page, and based on the book's reviews, The North Water is an exceptionally well-researched, bleak, and effective portrait of violence and evil, but on screen - and on TV especially - it's a different story. If the show retains all of Drax's crimes, the hot takes will be scalding.
Filming on The North Water begins this fall. Have you read the book? If so, are you ready for a TV adaptation? As I haven't read it myself, I'm rather curious. I love a good whaling-era story, and this story sounds extremely whaling-era, at the least.