| Carrie Bell |
LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Whenever the subject of “Gracepoint”, a remake of last year’s critically acclaimed murder mystery and across-the-pond hit “Broad-church”, comes up, two very distinct parties of Americans emerge: the small group who watched the original ITV series and those who didn’t.
Network executives, creator Chris Chibnall, the redo’s writers/showrunners Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman, the shared leading man of both versions, David Tennant (“Doctor Who”), and the rest of the new high-calibre cast are hoping to entice both groups to give “Gracepoint” a chance.
“First and foremost, it is a really good mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you suspecting every character you meet. It has got some very sharp hairpin turns that nobody will expect,” Anna Gunn, who has stepped into the role of investigator Ellie Miller, said on the red carpet during the show’s premiere event recently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Bing Theater.
“But it is also more than just a whodunit. It’s a very tragic story and character study. This murder rips at the fabric of this small town and it forever changes people. It’s actually examining the fact that people act in odd ways in the face of a tragedy. It examines guilt, shame, and grief in very meaningful ways.”
For potential viewers who fall into the aforementioned latter category, tuning in to the redo when it premieres on Fox should be a no-brainer.
“Only one percent of Americans saw ‘Broadchurch’, and the story is too good to be missed by the other 99 per cent. And as brilliant as it was, I think ‘Grace-point’ more than holds its own in terms of writing and acting,” said Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”), who portrays trailer park-dwelling, cigarette-smoking dog lover Susan.
“The best way to get Americans to watch a show is to make it in their own vernacular and their own idiom,” Weaver said. “I’ve got really intelligent friends who have to watch ‘Downton Abbey’ with subtitles. It isn’t saying anything against them. It’s just easier to follow a story and get connected to characters when it sounds like what you are used to.”
But for those early adopters who were savvy enough to catch the original when it aired on BBC America last September, the decision to watch might be a little more difficult to make, especially considering the new show’s almost identical premise: A safe, small town is shaken when a local boy is found dead on an idyllic beach, and the ensuing investigation that digs up juicy secrets and turns almost everyone from the child’s father to the priest into a suspect.
Michael Peña (“American Hustle”) joked during the post-screening Q&A: “It is a page-turner and I was excited that everyone was a suspect, not just the Latin guy.”
The team behind “Gracepoint”, acutely aware of the hard sell, wants to be clear that it is not a shot-for-shot remake.