David Tennant, Diverse Cast Power ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ Premiering at Canneseries

Sales are being handled by Federation Entertainment.” /> The production was created with the support of IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) of South Africa, CNC (Centre National du Cinema) in France, the Romanian government, and the Creative Europe Program MEDIA.
But this Fogg is different. Tennant follows in the footsteps of a string of notable actors, including David Niven and Steve Coogan, to have played the role.
First published in French in 1872, the original story follows an eccentric Englishman, Phileas Fogg (Tennant), who responds to a wager at his posh British Reform Club to circumnavigate the world in 80 days.
production of “Around the World in 80 Days” has been updated for the 21st century, as lead actor David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) explains. Making its world premiere on Sunday in an Out of Competition slot at Canneseries (Oct. 8-13), the French-U.K.
Says Tennant: “Phileas Fogg is an unhappy man who feels that he has not fulfilled his potential, who has not lived his life, and that he has wasted his life by virtue of his privilege; he's undoubtedly wealthy. He doesn't have to do anything. Therefore he doesn't. He will no doubt be hustled into an early grave with gout.” He eats roasted meat. He just goes to his same stuffy club every day.
It's wonderful but it’s probably not how you would tell the story now.” It is of its time. “I had read the book, I realized, when I read the script. “It feels like the version of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ for the 21st century,” says Tennant.
You've got that dynamic pulsing under it the whole time, which is a great place to start. And then you go to all these exotic locations, and then you do it with people that, by definition, are out of their comfort zone. Obviously, this is a story that has been told many different times, in many different ways, and I suppose that's because it has this out-of-the-box dramatic structure,” he says. “Already, you have got a built-in tension there. “It's got this built in momentum. It makes sense that this is a story that we keep revisiting.” There is an actual ticking clock pursuing them around the world.
An Exploration of Race and Sexual Politics
Building Suspense
Colonial Britain Played Forward
It gives us a snapshot of the world then and now,” he adds. “The sexual politics of the time are investigated, and it is also brilliant that Ibrahim who plays Passepartout is a black man. That's also something that I think is right and proper that we have a diverse cast,” says Tennant. I think that is the right way to tell that story in the 21st century. “This is an unusual cast of characters traveling the world, but we use it to look at the racial and sexual politics of the time. Not to pretend that the world was some sort of wonderful melting pot back in the 1870s.
“I do think there is something fascinating about the fact that Phileas Fogg, starting out from the Reform Club in the stuffiest corner of Old England, in a story created by a French man, that there is something about it that gives it a timelessness that perhaps it would not have had without the benefit of someone looking at it from across the English Channel,” he says.
In this version, he's accompanied by a female journalist, while French-Malian actor Ibrahim Koma plays the role of the valet Jean Passepartout, updating the original white male storyline. Leonie Benesch plays the newly created role of Abigail Fix, a journalist writing under a male byline. In the original story, Detective Fix is a Scotland Yard detective that suspects Fogg is responsible for a bank robbery and shows up to nail him mid journey.
The series will be broadcast on France Télévisions, ZDF, RAI and Masterpiece/PBS, which serves as a co-production partner, alongside Peu Communications (South Africa), Be-FILMS and RTBF (Belgium). Daro Film Distribution is the associate producer.
In an interview on the Canneseries’ website, Tennant speaks with journalist Thomas Destouches about the new series, produced by Slim Film Plus Television and Federation Entertainment for France Télévisions, ZDF and RAI. Season 1 is composed of eight episodes of 52 minutes each.
So to have a woman traveling around and writing about this journey for The Daily Telegraph is unusual, but that becomes part of the journey in itself.” Tennant refers to the updates. “What I think Ashley has done is that he's not denied the fact that it's unusual, because it is still set when the novel is set. “It seems almost an obvious thing to do to make one of our main characters female, it seems rather regressive not to,” says Tennant.
Even before Brexit, Britain looked like a peculiar place from mainland Europe.
It has things to say about us now. “I think what Ashley did with the script is that he gave it a contemporary spin without taking it out of the time from which it is set. We look back on those times, particularly the time of Colonial Britain, with an eye that wasn't being used at the time,” he says.
Cross Channel Ferries
That is dramatically interesting to meet someone in that moment of crisis, especially that he didn't see coming – that when he wakes up that morning, by that evening he will be on a boat to France. Because of that, he's propelled onto this journey that, otherwise, this human being would never have made. We meet him on a day when a number of events occur all at once. This version of Phileas Fogg has only ever been as far as Edinburgh.” He continues: “So something snaps.
Pharoah and Ranson had dramatic material to play with, meeting their main character on a day when everything changes on a dime.
Tennant responded to British screenwriter Ashley Pharoah (“Life on Mars”) and Caleb Ranson’s (“First Light”) update of the classic novel, written by Jules Verne.
He's mired in insecurity and self doubt. “Phileas Fogg is an interesting character in the book,” he says. And I suppose that, from an acting point of view, was one of the attractions of playing someone on this journey for which he is fundamentally unsuited. “He's very inscrutable. He's rather aloof. Nothing ruffles him. He's got a Zen-like silence about him. Nothing bothers him. He floats above the action, assuming that everything is going to work out, which is very different to the Phileas Fogg that Pharoah has created for this particular telling of the tale. And apparently incapable of achieving.”

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