Esquire kicks off 2016 in an ambitious manner when "Beowulf" joins the fledgling cable channel's line-up. The show -- Esquire's second original scripted series -- translates the characters and imagery from the classic poem to television, while expanding on its already epic story.
Today, SPINOFF has the exclusive debut of a new featurette that combines scenes from the series with cast interviews explaining what viewers will experience when they tune in for the adventures of the world's first action hero. While Grendel is not mentioned by name in the show's description, many other aspects of the poem are represented, and the teaser below indicates that the iconic monster may make his presence felt on the show at some point.
Based on the complex protagonist of a classic poem written between the eighth and tenth century, Beowulf takes place in a mythological place, The Shieldlands, and challenges the notions of good and evil, heroes and villains, and the rule of law against one’s moral code. The drama stars Kieran Bew (DA VINCI’S DEMONS), in the lead role Beowulf; multi-award-winning actor William Hurt (DAMAGES); acclaimed actress Joanne Whalley (WOLF HALL); Ed Speleers (DOWNTON ABBEY) and David Ajala (BLACK BOX).
"Beowulf," starring Kieran Bew, William Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Ed Speleers and more, premieres Saturday, Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. on Esquire"
Official Press Release
One of the fastest growing networks in cable, Esquire embarks on a journey into its second original scripted series with the epic tale of “Beowulf,” premiering Saturday, January 23rd at 10pm ET/PT. Based on the legendary English poem over a thousand years old, Beowulf tells the story of a disillusioned and damaged hero. The 13-episode, one hour drama will chronicle Beowulf’s return to his home Herot, to make peace with his past. Unwittingly in search of a cause to believe in and a community to fight for, Beowulf finds himself wrongly accused of murder and hunts down the true perpetrator to avenge the death of his fellow kinsmen. Beowulf becomes Herot’s tough but unconventional hero, responsible for upholding the law and protecting the town from danger. The last of a dying breed, Beowulf is a man capable of shaping the world around him by his actions and force of will. While this may seem like a familiar tale, Beowulf unearths the full story of the complicated, driven man behind the lore. For a sneak peek of the transcendent world of Beowulf, please click here: http://tv.esquire.com/videos/72328
The series stars Kieran Bew (“Da Vinci’s Demons”) as Beowulf; multi-award-winning actor William Hurt (“Damages”) as Hrothgar; acclaimed actress Joanne Whalley (“Wolf Hall”) as Rheda; Ed Speleers (“Downton Abbey”) as Slean, Laura Donnelly (“Outlander”) as Elvina and David Ajala (“Black Box”) as Rate. “Beowulf” is produced by ITV Studios with Tim Haines and Katie Newman serving as Executive Producers along with James Dormer (“Strike Back”), who writes the series. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Welcome to The Shieldlands:
Herot is one of 13 tribes that make up the Alliance of the Shieldlands, a country with an epic history. Giants once ruled the lands, but human tribes claimed the region and forced the ogres to flee to the mountains and retreat to the darkness of the forests and swamps. Under the leadership of Herot and the successors of the other tribes, the Shieldlands has thrived seven generations, but now it is crumbling.
Beowulf (Kieran Bew)
Beowulf is an exceptional and intelligent warrior with a reputation as a fearless ‘hero’ that he struggles to live up to and accept. When he arrives in Herot, Beowulf quickly realizes the town is in trouble and corruption, and plotting is rife within Herot and the rest of the Shieldlands. Beowulf doesn’t arrive looking for a job – but one is thrust upon him. He knows he has to step up for this community to stand a fighting chance.
Hrothgar (William Hurt)
The wise and lionhearted Thane (leader) of Herot and the Shieldlands Alliance, Hrothgar adopted Beowulf and intended to mold him into a leader. In Hrothgar’s eyes, Beowulf was inherently more capable than his own son, Slean.
Rheda (Joanne Whalley)
The widow of Hrothgar and mother of Slean, Rheda is capable, intelligent and tough when she needs to be. As Herot’s new chosen Thane, she proves herself as a savvy leader and a dangerous politician.
Slean (Ed Speleers)
Rheda and Hrothgar’s son, Slean is ambitious, intelligent and greedy, but never the fighter his father was. Slean is brave and has a burning desire to be a great warrior, but he lacks the inherent talent Beowulf was blessed with, which has caused the rift between them to grow over the years. Slean’s feelings of inadequacy and insecurity have left their mark. He believes the rule of law is vital in Herot’s progression, but that doesn’t mean he follows it himself.
Elvina (Laura Donnelly)
Strong, determined, stubborn and beautiful, Elvina hails from the mysterious Mere tribe. She travelled to Herot, after her people suffered a brutal massacre at the hands of the vicious Warig creatures. As Herot’s healer, Elvina is held in good esteem and relied upon in times of need and is a great sense of strength and support. Her journey is a complex one, particularly in matters of the heart, as she gradually becomes torn between two relationships when Beowulf arrives in Herot, complicating her affections for Slean.
Rate (David Ajala)
As Thane of the Varni, a warrior tribe and muscle of the Alliance, Rate is a man of strength, honor, courage and intelligence. Rate is powerful and terrifying but when the race for leadership over the Shieldlands presents itself, he quickly sets his sights on filling the void over the other Thanes.
About Esquire Network
Esquire Network champions the pursuit of a well-played life. The lifestyle and entertainment network, which debuted in September 2013, features programming that speaks to classic and contemporary passions and interests, from fashion and style to food and drink, travel, family and relationships. Building on Esquire magazine’s 80 years of insight into what makes men tick, Esquire Network is available wherever viewers are watching: in 75 million homes nationwide, online at http://esquiretv.com, On Demand, via mobile with the Esquire TV Now app and other platforms. Esquire Network is a unit of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. To find Esquire Network, visit: http://esquiretv.com/channelfinder.
About ITV Studios Global Entertainment
ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) is one of the world’s leading international TV distribution, home entertainment, publishing, merchandising and licensing businesses. ITVS GE distributes celebrated content across all genres from both its in-house production business, ITV Studios, and in collaboration with leading producers from around the world. Part of ITV PLC, which includes the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, ITV Studios Global Entertainment has offices in London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Sydney.