Peter Fonda ("Ulee's Gold") will star in a reworking of Shakespeare's classic tale of betrayal and illusion, The Tempest , to air on NBC on Dec. 19 (check local listings). His co-stars include John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion! ) and Harold Perrineau, Jr. ("Oz").
Screenwriter James Henerson updates the story to Civil War-era Mississippi. Prospero is now Gideon Prosper (Fonda), a southerner who abandons his position as overseer of the family plantation to study sorcery, leaving his younger brother Anthony (Glover) to take over. Anthony soon abuses his duties, and Gideon uses his skills in the black arts to free Ariel (Perrineau), the son of a slave who first taught Gideon about magic. Anthony sicks the law on his brother, forcing Gideon to flee to the bayou with his daughter, Miranda (Katherine Heigl), and Ariel.
Twelve years down the line (where the action in Shakespeare's play begins), Gideon is confronted with his past when he learns that Anthony is planning to lead Union soldiers into an ambush. The sorcerer releases Ariel to help the Union troops and assists in defeating his brother and the Confederacy. (For the record, Caliban is now a swamp dweller called Gator Man).
The Tempest was originally scheduled to air Nov. 22, but was pushed back due to "delays in the production schedule," said NBC spokesperson Carrie Simons.
Bonnie Raskin and Jack Bender are the executive producers of The Tempest . Bender also directs. Frame Store will provide special effects. -- By Robert Simonson