Gracepoint - America's remake of ITV hit Broadchurch - is set to hit screens this fall (translation: autumn) in the US and likely in the UK shortly after. But when the first trailer was released last May, we were left baffled by the striking similarities between the original and its recast update.
Our (many) questions received little clarification until Sunday's Gracepoint panel at the Television Critics Assocation's summer press tour. But thanks to executive producers Dan Futterman and Carolyn Bernstein and the show's leading man, David Tennant, we've finally got some answers. Here goes...
1. Gracepoint's shot-for-shot recreation of Broadchurch will only last for the first two episodes. "The first order of business was don't screw up what works, because it was fantastic," explained Futterman. "We did consider different starting places, different ideas for the first episode, and we kept coming back to the first episode of Broadchurch," added Bernstein. "The way that the story was told was so well done. Why would we contort ourselves to figure out a different way, when that was the smartest, most compelling way to launch this particular story?" But after the first couple of instalments, we can expect some changes to come into play: "It's going to start to change very rapidly," said Futterman. "I think by the third and fourth episodes, you see very, very brief detours. We deviated as much as we wanted to and as much as we could while still trying to keep this story that has a beginning and now a different ending."
2. Don't expect the same killer as Broadchurch: “I don’t want you to rule anybody out as a suspect,” teased Futterman when quizzed over whether the murderer would be different. “We end in a very different place, which is exciting for a first season and could be, yes, a great second season as well.”
3. Yes, you read that right. There "could be" a second series if TV bosses should so wish. The American market is famously ruthless so it'll all depend on the audience's reaction. Thanks to the buzz that surrounded Broadchurch and the presence of Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn, you can guarantee plenty of interest when Gracepoint hits screens - but a return is wholly dependent on whether this remake impresses its audience. Tennant is certainly keen... "I will keep turning up, if I make it to the end of Gracepoint season one."
4. Expect some extra faces to show up. "You'll meet new characters along the way, new suspects," said Bernstein. "There will be characters that you recognize from Broadchurch, who have a much greater role on our show."
5. Despite both being played by Tennant, there are differences between Alec Hardy and Emmett Carver. "They both look quite like me and have similar heights," he explained. "It’s the same character, and yet not the same.
6. And Anna Gunn has a different interpretation of the role to Olivia Colman's. "The relationship between Carver and Ellie Miller feels very different to Hardy and Ellie Miller," said Tennant." The spine of the story and the characters are the same, but there’s different flesh on the bones.”
7. Tennant, the action hero? “David got to carry a gun. He was very excited. We caught him sleeping with it,” joked Futterman. Was he a diva on set? “I asked that nobody looked me in the eye. And everyone has to refer to me as Admiral,” quipped Tennant.
8. David went all method. Apparently Tennant camped out in a different hotel to his fellow cast members and only looked Virginia Kull (who plays Beth Lasseter) in the eye for the first time when it came to doing their emotional scene on the beach. “The first take is the one that’s real. The danger is, after that, you’re chasing a reproduction,” said Tennant.
9. The accent is good, according to showrunners. “We haven’t had to loop a single word of David’s American accent,” Bernstein assured the audience.
10. We've been promised some answers. Unlike certain crime dramas, Gracepoint will follow the form of its predecessor and give us a conclusion that reveals the killer at the end of the first series. Phew!