Life On Mars: the US remake

US TV has got its hands on Life On Mars - and the pilot film is already in the can...!

Life on Mars - Gene Hunt, Sam Tyler, Ford Cortina

Over the past week, there’s been widespread reporting that the BBC has sold Life On Mars to Spain, where it’ll be remade. Much press release munching later, we did – well, Martin did – some searching, and discovered something that pretty much everyone we spoke to had missed: that there’s an American TV movie remake already in the can, and set to be broadcast in the States later this year. When did they sneak that one past us?

David E Kelley, the man you have to thank for Ally McBeal, Doogie Howser and Boston Legal, is the man who has put it together. We’d assume that the movie is a pilot for a potential fuller remake of the series, and Kelley has brought in West Wing-veteran and So I Married An Axe Murderer director Thomas Schlamme to go behind the camera.

In the move across the channel, John Simm’s Sam Tyler has turned into Jason O’Mara’s Sam Tyler. O’Mara was the result, apparently, of one of those exhaustive nationwide searches where we guess everyone e-mails their audition to Los Angeles. O’Mara previously played Chopper 3 in Space Truckers and popped up in Resident Evil: Extinction. It’s fair to say that Life On Mars could be his big break.

Meanwhile, Gene Hunt is being reimagined in the form of Colm Meaney. We’re huge fans of Colm Meaney, and can see that it might just work. He’s got sizeable shoes to fill, though, and it’ll be interesting to see how well he manages to fill them.

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The rest of the cast? Rachelle (“25-year old Tuvia in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”) Lefevre is Detective Annie Cartwright, Stephanie “Charlotte from Home & Away” Chaves-Jacobsen is Maya Robinson and Abby Eiland is Beth Mitchell.

No word on a transmission date yet, but the US Life On Mars is due to be shown on the ABC network before the year is out. It’s also being produced by 20th Century Fox, the same 20th Century Fox we were talking about just yesterday….