Has NBC already found the actress who will play the very demanding role of Det. Jane Tennison?
EW has learned exclusively that Maria Bello — who appeared on the Peacock’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit last year – has been approached about headlining the Prime Suspect reboot that’s in the works for the fall.
“There may be interest in me doing it, but I haven’t read anything yet or talked to anyone in-depth about it,” Bello told EW exclusively while attending the 10th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards on Monday. “I’m possibly interested. Definitely nervous to even think about taking over for Helen Mirren. C’mon! How could anyone compete with her? Didn’t she do about 10 of them and win an Emmy every time? I’m open to things right now. I’m just trying to go with the flow of my life and I’ve been going back-and-forth to Haiti trying to help out. That has felt good, but I am also wanting to do something spectacular with my life work-wise and that may end up being it.”
Prime Suspect was first dusted off last season as a potential midseason replacement for the 2010-11 season, but the project never made it to pilot for a number of reasons, including NBC’s inability to find someone to play Tennison. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) is now shepherding the reboot of the British police procedural drama from the ’90s that starred Mirren. Desperate Housewives producer Alexandra Cunningham will serve as the showrunner.
Bello is one of those veteran actors whose name tops the wish list of every network each development season. There are many film actors who seem ready to follow in the footsteps of Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, and Toni Collette and make the transition to the small screen. But it’s difficult for CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox to recruit such high-profile women because the broadcast network schedule (i.e. the 22-episode commitment that’s required) can be very demanding. Elisabeth Shue, for example, was eyed early on to star in The Good Wife, but she wanted to spend more time with her kids. — With additional reporting from Carrie Bell