Scoop: Harvey Keitel Finds 'Life on Mars'

Depending on how successful you were at solving my Life on Mars-themed asterisk quiz last week, this next scoop is either yesterday’s news or as fresh as a summer breeze.

After months of topsy-turvy negotiations, Oscar nominated thesp Harvey Keitel has officially inked a deal to join the cast of ABC’s forthcoming Americanized redo of Life on Mars. He’ll play Det. Gene Hunt, the hard-nosed, iron-fisted head of the homicide department. Philip Glenister originated the role in the British version.

Keitel joins previously announced cast members Jason O’Mara and Michael Imperioli.

OK, Mars fanatics, it’s weigh-in time: Is Keitel a worthy successor to Glenister? Does this piece of casting make you more/less inclined to watch? Were you among the precious few who correctly solved the asterisk quiz? Sound off below!


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  • Luke

    I’ve been hearing all sorts of bad things about this pilot-daptation. Apparently it loses a lot of the major themes and great parts of the original. But if Keitel is on-board then so am I. The man blackmailed a girl with a piano, I’m sure he’ll do fine as Gene.

  • xfanatic50

    This actually does make me more excited, because while seeming to be about the Sam Tyler character, Life on Mars success really hinged on Glenister and the Gene Hunt character (as evidenced by the fact that they spun him off in Ashes to Ashes). When I first heard they’d cast Colm Meaney, i actually cringed… but Keitel is such a great actor and can be such a terrific bad-ass that it seems like he could bring something really interesting to the role.

  • xfanatic50

    And just to add to that, I did see the early pilot, and it was pretty awful. The Gene Hunt character was completely underwritten and not nearly as complex or funny. So if adding Keitel means that the character becomes more central and prominent in the show, and makes the show a bit grittier, then I’m all for it!

  • Mel

    No one can top Philip Glenister in this role. Couldn’t they change the character’s name because Gene Hunt has his own spin-off ‘Ashes to Ashes’, which is still continuing. I feel iffy about having two actors actively playing the same character.

  • Anonymous

    I am going to have to say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t care that he’s been nominated and blah, blah, blah. I just see this casting as yet another sign that they don’t really get the show. Sure Gene Hunt is tough, but he never looked it. Keitel looks like he could kick your butt 20 different ways.

  • Sara

    I will definitely be watching if Keitel is associated with the project. He is just such an awesome actor! Harvey is still a bad ass at what 68 years old now? Bring it on!

  • Jimmy

    Actually, Colm Meaney was an excellent and worthy successor to Glenister, but I guess Keitel will do. That being said, the more I read about this the more doomed the series sounds.

  • citygirl

    Harvey Keitel BRINGS it! He’s timelessly hot (like Jack Nicholson and Sophia Loren), and seriously bad-ass. And on-screen, you can’t take your eyes off the man. The show is going to be huge now.

  • Anonymous

    From what I saw, the main thing missing from the US Version was, well, life. They tried to re-do the British version and everyone, including Colm Meaney and Jason O’Mara, was flatter than flat. So unless they have some sort of spark they’re not telling us about, well, I don’t have a lot of hope…

  • The Creeping Spleen

    I was a bit miffed that Colm Meany wasn’t playing the Gene Genie, but now?
    I am SO looking forward to this! :D

  • Anonymous

    They should have kept Colm Meany

  • Phil

    OMFG! I was upset when David E. Kelley resigned the production to the October Road guys, and even moreso when Colm Meaney was let go from the series. But, Mr. White more than makes up for it now. I’m a lot more optimistic about this remake now!

  • Ivriniel

    I don’t know who Harvey Keitel is, but I’m disappointed they dropped Colm Meaney.

  • Oprah

    Keitel would have been a great choice for Gene Hunt if he were 20-25 years younger. But he’s not, and the producers are making a big mistake.
    Not that it will matter, because this one isn’t sticking around for long. I’m expecting that it will have a trajectory reminiscent of Commander-in-Chief and be gone by the end of the season.

  • socalj

    lmao at the first comment…how can you not know who Harvey Keitel is?!?!?! However as much as I love him and Michael Imperioli, the premise is too odd. They should have just done a 70s cop show, instead of the “guy from the present day goes into a coma and imagines he’s in the 70s” thing. (and then wakes up and kills himself in the series finale…yeah, that’s how the British one ended. Really worth the commitment of your time to these characters, huh??)

    • Kat, Manchester, UK

      Just another American who doesn’t “get” the depth or appreciate the spiritual complexity of the programme. Why can’t you lot leave a decent story alone when you see it? Oh, I remember, it’s because if you can’t have a happy ending you’ll cry and tell mummy!

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