May 27, 2024

“Candyman” star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and “The Prince of Persia’s” Gemma Arterton find themselves battling a mysterious assassin in the first trailer for Disney+ U.K. original series “Culprits,” which drops in the U.K. and Ireland on Nov. 8.

The series, from filmmaker J Blakeson (“I Care A Lot”) tells the story of a group of elite reformed criminals who have left their old, bad selves behind. Just when they thought they could start afresh, a ruthless mystery assassin turns up to pick them off one by one — and they begin to realize not everyone is willing to let the past go.

“Why are they being stalked, who is behind the mayhem and will they be able to find one another in time to protect themselves and the people they love?” reads the logline.

The eight-part series from Character 7 was created by Blakeson and he directs alongside Claire Oakley (“Make Up”). Morenike Williams (“Killing Eve”) produces while Blakeson and Stephen Garrett (“The Night Manager”) are exec producing. Johanna Devereaux exec produces for Disney+.

Ahead of the trailer dropping Blakelson sat down with Variety to discuss the project.

How did you come to work on “Culprits”?

Stephen Garrett optioned a book called “Culprits: The Heist is Only the Beginning,” which is like an anthology story book. It had this very interesting set of open questions — because it was set after the heist, like this one — so some years later there’s all these people who are living their lives, all of them have this secret, they’ve all had this question put to them: if you could be whoever you want, anywhere, with your big bag of money what would you choose? And I started just spinning off ideas from there.

How did you approach the story?

I love heist movies, I love thrillers, from “Rififi” or even “The Great Train Robbery” onwards. Heists have been done so many times, the great thing about this is that you can sort of play in that sandbox with the tropes and the expectations and the iconography of the heist, but actually tell a story, which is much more about these people who are dealing with this bad thing they’ve done and the consequences of their actions and trying to escape who they were and are trying to become a person who they’d like to be. And there’s sort of this looming shadow of your past over you the whole time.

You have a great ensemble cast, led by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Gemma Arterton. What was it like working with them?

It was great working with Gemma again, I worked with Gemma on my first film. She’s such a good actress and such a pro that it was just a joy to work with her again. And then the most important thing was to find Joe, the lead character, and then build the ensemble around him. We looked at a lot of people for Joe before Nathan read for the part. And as soon as he read, he just sort of had something which was really interesting — it’s like a soulfulness to him but also an ambiguity that you’re not quite sure if he’s a good guy or a bad guy at any point, but he’s very, very likeable.

Does the series end with the possibility of a second season?

Disney+ said they wanted us to tell the whole story. So it’s eight episodes and it’s a closed off story. I come from making movies where you get to tell the whole story. As a viewer, I find it frustrating where the whole first season is basically the first act of a movie, especially if it gets cancelled, because you’re just getting started! And we definitely didn’t want to do that. So when you get to the end of the season, you get a conclusion.

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