Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean and Johnny English fame has signed on to play the protagonist of Belgian author Georges Simenon’s iconic Jules Maigret detective novels in two feature-length films for the U.K. TV network ITV. Simenon published an astounding 75 Maigret novels between 1931 and 1972, all of which followed the French police detective as he policed, investigated, and wandered around Paris sporting a heavy overcoat and pipe. Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man, the Atkinson-driven adaptations, will be set in ’50s Paris.
Treasure Island’s Stewart Harcourt will write the scripts, and will executive produce alongside Barnaby Thompson and Ben Latham-Jones for Ealing Studios, as well as John Simenon (Simenon’s son) for Maigret Productions. Maigret Sets A Trap is based on the novel Maigret Tend Un Piège and Maigret’s Dead Man on Maigret Et Son Mort. It’s unclear to what extent Atkinson will play this character with his signature bumbling-idiot-who-keeps-succeeding persona, but hopefully we’ve got more hilariously disturbing historical portraits to look forward to. The first Maigret film will go into production this September.