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Burke's the Butcher, Hare's the Thief, Knox, the Boy Who Buys the Beef!

By Brian Prisco | Industry | January 25, 2010 |

By Brian Prisco | Industry | January 25, 2010 |

More casting news for Burke and Hare, the horror-comedy based on the first “official” serial killers in Britain, from freshfaced newcomer John Landis. In the early 19th century, Burke and Hare would smother their victims and then sell the bodies to a doctor for experimentation. Burke’s mistress, Helen M’Dougal, and Hare’s wife were both suspected of collaboration.

John Landis is no stranger to murder. And I guess fueled by the rage that they’ve desecrated the glory of his technological masterpiece An American Werewolf in London with The Wolfman, he’s taking names and chopping heads. On the downside, the last real film Landis did — other than the pretty good documentary Slasher — was The Blues Brothers 2000. He recently worked on the Masters of Horror project for Showtime/Starz, with two entries among the better ones. But even with a talented cast, Landis can easily blow it. I’m still a little concerned that this will turn into a half-assed version of the movie that TK loved but I loathed, I Sell The Dead..

Simon Pegg has long been signed on to the project as Burke, and he recently twat that while David Tennant was out as Hare, Andy Serkis was now in. I know all you Cap’n Why fans are all sad, but honestly, this is probably the best pairing for horror comedy I can think of. Serkis looks like a damn serial killer. And personally, I prefer his work out of makeup and CGI, even though he should have gotten an Oscar for Gollum. But we all know the academy will never award someone’s performances based entirely on computer generated effects.

Tom Wilkinson has been signed on to play Knox, the doc who purchases the meatbags wholesale. This is excellent news. You can put Tom Wilkinson, Jim Broadbent, and James Cromwell in a revolver, spin the cylinder, and guarantee that one of them’s going to kill it every time. They all excel at playing that rare genre of dignified and effete and yet possibly corrupt whathaveyou — general, doctor, corporate stooge, police chief. And I really like the pairing of Wilkinson with Pegg and Serkis.

However, they’ve also cast Isla Fisher as Helen M’Dougal. Whether or not she’ll actually be part of the ghoulishness is yet to be known. After seeing Confessions of a Shopaholic, I’m kind of depressed that the poor man’s Amy Adams is allowed to keep acting. Wedding Crashers must have been a fluke, but then again, the role was completely relegated to being insane. So there’s that. Then again, I didn’t think that Winona Ryder was worth a tinker’s dam other than playing variations on Wednesday Addams, but she proved me wrong with her performance in Pippa Lee. Otherwise, I’m less than juiced about this casting.

There’s others rumors afoot, castingwise that are less reliable. Possibly Bill Nighy, Dan Akyroyd, John Cleese, and even Tennant might make a few appearances. John Landis still has some juice, I suppose.


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