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'Fantastic Beasts' star Eddie Redmayne going full thriller in Peacock's 'Day of the Jackal' series

The Peacock series The Day Of the Jackal will be a modern adaptation of the classic 1973 thriller of the same name.

By James Grebey
The cover of the book The Day Of The Jackal; A headshot of Eddie Redmayne

From the Potter-verse to a hard boiled thriller: Eddie Redmayne, Oscar-winning star of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, has officially been cast as the lead in Peacock and Sky's upcoming The Day of the Jackal television series — based upon the 1971 book by Frederick Forsyth and the subsequent film adaptation released in 1973.

An iconic political thriller, The Day of the Jackal is a work of (loose) historical fiction, the novel and movie are inspired by a real-life plot from a French dissident paramilitary organization to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, the president of France throughout the 1960s. The events of The Day of the Jackal, though, are a fictional imagining of a second assassination attempt. Still, the tale is a taut, exciting story of intrigue and subterfuge as the Jackal, a British assassin hired by the dissidents, attempts to kill his target — and French security forces try to thwart him.

RELATED: 'Mrs. Davis' star Betty Gilpin says Peacock series encompasses '11 genres that deal with 57 themes'

The upcoming Peacock series will make substantial updates to the original story, according to a press release. It’s described as “a bold, modern reimagining of the beloved and respected novel and film,” and will presumably be set in the present day rather than the ‘60s setting of the original. 

“While staying true to the DNA of the original story, this contemporary drama will delve deeper into the chameleon-like ‘anti-hero’ at the heart of the story in a high octane, cinematic, globetrotting 'cat and mouse' thriller, set amidst the turbulent geo-political landscape of our time,” the press release reads.

Redmayne, who won an Academy Award for his leading role in The Theory of Everything and who also appeared in The Good Nurse, Trial of The Chicago Seven, and turned in a delightfully unhinged performance in Jupiter Ascending, will star. No other actors have been announced yet. 

Ronan Bennett, an Irish screenwriter and novelist who created the British crime drama Top Boy, will serve as The Day of the Jackal’s writer and showrunner. Brian Kirk, who directed episodes of Game of ThronesLuther, and Boardwalk Empire, will be behind the camera. 

“We are excited to bring to life Ronan Bennett’s re-imagining of Forsyth’s revered thriller in the complex world in which we live today and are incredibly fortunate to have an actor of Eddie’s calibre as our Jackal. Paired with Ronan’s screenplay and Brian Kirk’s direction, this is a first-class creative team," Gareth Neame, CEO & Executive Producer at Carnival Films (a producer on the show) said in a statement.

Production on The Day of the Jackal will begin this year. There is no premiere date yet, but when it comes out, the series will be streaming exclusively on Peacock in the United States. Across the pond, in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, it will be viewable on Sky.

Once it drops, The Day of the Jackal will join an ambitious slate of inventive projects on Peacock, including Rain Johnson's hit mystery series Poker Face, Damon Lindelof's Mrs. Davis and more.

Looking for more heart-pounding thrillers? Salt and Hanna are both streaming on Peacock.