After a long career spent unsettling audiences on the big screen, John Malkovich will take on his first regular series role in the NBC pirate drama Crossbones. The trailer promises ship-to-ship combat, British people, and a lot less violence and nudity than if the show had been made for a cable network. Still, NBC is careful to emphasize the show’s edginess by scoring the trailer with a trance-rock cover of “Born To Be Wild”—because pirates were the rock stars of their time, with the British Empire as their uptight, misunderstanding parents.
Malkovich plays real-life pirate Blackbeard, who the trailer assures us is a genius, a madman, and a legend. Malkovich—showing the kind of devil-may-care disregard for authority that befits a pirate—has chosen to play Blackbeard as a man with a white beard. Audiences can decide whether they’re willing to stand for that kind of historical impropriety when the show airs in May.