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House of Cards actor Greg Kinnear is in talks to star in a new version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds being developed by Fox Networks Group and Canal+. Penned by the legendary Wells in 1897, War of the Worlds was a seminal science fiction story about an invasion of planet Earth by Martians armed with superior technology. Eventually, the Martians are defeated not by humanity but - in one of literature's classic twists - are taken out by microbes.
War of the Worlds was most famously adapted in 1939 by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater troupe in a radio production that, at least according to legend, provoked legitimate hysteria among listeners who believed Earth was actually being invaded by aliens from Mars. George Pal produced the first film adaptation for Paramount in 1953, and that version has itself gone on to be considered a classic. Steven Spielberg re-told the story on film in 2005 with Tom Cruise in the lead role.
A new series adaptation of H.G. Wells' durable sci-fi tale is now being developed by Fox Networks Group and Canal+ for airing in Europe, as reported by Deadline. Greg Kinnear is reported to be in talks to take on the lead role in the new version of the story, whose script was penned by prolific TV writer Howard Overman (Merlin, Dirk Gently). The story will be set in the present day and is being billed as a "reimagined" version of Wells' tale. The show is set to start production in 2019. A separate War of the Worlds adaptation from the BBC is already well underway, but that one will be set in Edwardian England, the time-frame of Wells' book.
As for Kinnear, the actor can currently be seen starring in season 6 of Netflix's award-winning series House of Cards. Kinnear first came to prominence as the original host of the humorous talk show highlight program Talk Soup, then made the leap to movies. Originally dismissed as a lightweight, Kinnear proved his acting ability in James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets, scoring an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his turn opposite stars Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt (both of whom won Oscars for their performances). Kinnear has yet to reach such heights again, but he has carved out a niche for himself as a dependable character actor, usually in good-guy roles. As one example of his normal output, he made a strong impression in 2017's Brigsby Bear playing a kindly police officer who dreams of being an actor.
Kinnear may not be a big name like Cruise, but he gives this new War of the Worlds adaptation at least one well-known American actor. It remains to be seen who else lines up to join the cast. Though the show is set for air in Europe, it's likely it will get some kind of airing in America as well. It's indeed becoming a strong time for H.G. Wells adaptations, as IT director Andy Muschietti is reportedly lining up his own reimagining of the author's The Time Machine.