A few days ago, Simon Pegg tweeted a somewhat cryptic statement -- that was deleted soon after -- which read: "David Tennant had to drop out of 'B&H' but by sheer glorious serendipity a legend of Middle Earth and Skull Island has come aboard. Welcome AS." "B&H" is shorthand for "Burke and Hare," a dark comedy set in 19th century Scotland to be directed "Thriller" helmer John Landis. Tennant, former star of the "Dr. Who" TV series, would have joined Pegg as one of two murderous grave robbers who make a business out of supplying corpses to an Edinburgh medical school.
Sharp minds were able to discern that Pegg's Middle-earth/Skull Island reference and "Welcome AS" comment referred to Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum and the mo-cap actor for "King Kong"'s big monkeybeast. In addition to the news this morning that Serkis is now confirmed to be replacing Tennant, there's also word that Isla Fisher and Tom Wilkinson have joined the cast as well, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision blog.
If the newly signed actor's character descriptions are accurate, the two will play significant roles in the story. Fisher will play the girlfriend of Pegg's grave robber, and she "may or may not be an accomplice to the murders." Wilkinson will play a cadaver-seeking professor at the med school the titular duo sell their kills to.
The story is actually based on a true one, though I imagine the comedic elements that Landis and his writers -- Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft -- bring in will lighten the grisly tale considerably. Pegg has certainly proven himself adept at finding the humor in horrific settings. As for Serkis, it'll just be nice to see the guy in the flesh for once, instead of as some fantastical creature. The word on the street is that he can act.
Shooting is set to begin on January 31, which means we can probably expect a late-2010/early-2011 release for "Burke and Hare."
Were you following "Burke and Hare" before this recent news broke? What does Serkis joining the cast do for you? How about the other two, Fisher and Wilkinson?