While many TV fans are starting to enjoy their returning shows as they come back from holiday hiatus, others are just starting up, including one U.K. series that hopefully will find its way across the pond. Sky Arts has released the first trailer for its eight-episode series Urban Myths, which showcases "remarkable stories from well-known historical, artistic and cultural figures, which may or may not have happened in real life." This trailer gives us our first look at Joseph Fiennes portraying the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.
The impressive cast also includes Carrie Fisher in what will be one of her final roles. Rupert Grint, Brian Cox, Stockard Channing, David Threlfall, Iwan Rheon, Eddie Marsan, Noel Clarke and Katherine Parkinson are among a host of talent starring in these true(ish) tales. Each of the eight original titles has its own unique take on an urban myth; some well-known and some that will delight viewers with their surprising stories. The films include Bob Dylan and Dave Stewart hanging out in Crouch End; an 18-year-old Adolf Hitler attempting to get into art school; Cary Grant and Timothy Leary taking LSD; Salvador Dali summoning Alice Cooper to sit for him; Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando going on a road trip; Samuel Beckett driving Andre the Giant to school; Muhammad Ali saving a suicidal man; and the Sex Pistols and the story behind the infamous expletive-filled TV interview that announced the arrival of punk rock.
Using a generous dose of artistic licence, the comedies are designed to mischievously spark viewers' imaginations and answer the question: if these events really did happen, how might they have played out? A two-part season (airing January and April 2017), Urban Myths is the latest offering of original and distinctive comedy commissioned by Sky and available only on Sky Arts. It showcases some of the best British writing and directing talent, as part of the channel's wider programme of supporting talented creatives and original filmmaking. Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, had this to say in his statement.
"We are always looking at new ways of shining a light on the wonderfully bizarre and endlessly fascinating worlds you find across the arts, and our brand-new series of Urban Myths (or true(ish) stories from arts and cultural history) does just that, exploring those tales we've kind of heard and hope are true. We are delighted that some of Britain's most talented and loved writers, directors and performers have had such a lot of fun with these tales and let their imagination and creative brilliance beam out from every frame."
Urban Myths: Bob Dylan kicks off the series on January 19th. Music legend Bob Dylan decides to pay an impromptu visit to his friend and fellow musician Dave Stewart. Unfortunately Dave isn't home but his wife Ange reveals he will be back shortly and asks Bob if he'd like to wait over a cuppa. Sure enough Dave returns, but far from being Dave Stewart, this is Dave the plumber, and massive fan of Bob Dylan. Bob sticks around to offer relationship advice. Bob Dylan is played by Eddie Marsan, Dave by Paul Ritter and Ange by Katherine Parkinson. Written and produced by Neil Webster and directed by Ben Palmer.
The season continues on January 26 with a tale about how Andre the Giant was chauffeured to school by the playwright Samuel Beckett (David Threlfall). Samuel steps in to help Andre, who is his builder's son, as the lad's size means he is already too big to be able to get the school bus. Along the journey a formative lesson in love and life ensues. There are no exact dates for the remaining episodes, but they include Hitler the Artist, starring Iwan Rheon as Adolf Hitler and Rupert Grint as his best friend August, as Adolf's art is rejected. Ben Chaplin and Aidan Gillen play Cary Grant and Timothy Leary in an episode that takes place on the set of Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, where Cary Grant is introduced to LSD. The episode Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon stars Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor, Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando as they rent a car in September 2001, fleeing from Manhattan towards Boston, reflecting on their careers. Carrie Fisher plays a "diner burger flipper" in this episode as well. Noel Clarke plays Muhammad Ali in another episode set in the early 1980s, after his defeat to Larry Holmes, when the former champ talks a suicidal stranger down from a ledge. The final two episodes center on an epic Sex Pistols interview, although cast members have not been announced, with Sacha Baron Cohen's Spelthorne Community Television company producing, and another centering on Salvador Dali and Alice Cooper, which has not announced cast members either. Take a look at this first trailer for Urban Myths below.