Production has begun in Toronto on XIII, a television series based of the popular action-conspiracy-thriller comic by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance.
Not to be confused with the Val Kilmer-Stephen Dorff miniseries that aired last year on NBC, this 13-episode adaptation stars Stuart Townsend (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Night Stalker) as a lethal former secret agent who can’t remember his past and must uncover his true identity. The Canada-France production will air this spring on Canada’s Showcase network.
XIII, originally serialized in 1984 in the Belgian comics magazine Spirou, begins with a man who washes up on the shore of the East Coast with no memory of who he is, and the only clue to his past is “XIII” tatooed on his neck. His search for his identity leads him to confront a plot to overthrow the U.S. government. (If you think the comic sounds a lot like a certain Robert Ludlum novel, that’s because Van Hamme was inspired by The Bourne Identity.) The XIII collections have sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.
Here’s the official synopsis from Showcase:
Hunted by a dark anti-government organization, XIII quickly realizes that the closer he gets to uncovering the riddle of his past life, the more complex and deadly his mission becomes. Alongside Townsend, XIII stars Aisha Tyler (24, CSI, Friends) as Jones, a top CIA operator and XIII’s past flame, Virginie Ledoyen (The Beach) as Irina, a mercenary hired by the former U.S. President to track XIII, and Caterina Murino (Casino Royale) as Sam, XIII’s trustworthy ally and love interest. Other key cast members include Greg Bryk (Saw V, Cra$h & Burn) as Amos, a national security officer, Stephen McHattie (Happy Town, 2012) as President Carrington and Ted Atherton (The Border) as Wally Sheridan, the former U.S. President and a possible traitor.
XIII is developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures and Cipango, the television division of Luc Besson’s Europacorp. Gil Grant (NCIS: Los Angeles, 24) wrote the pilot and will serve as the series’ showrunner.