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October 3, 2015

Maria Bello to Tackle Helen Mirren's Role in 'Prime Suspect'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Feb 17th 2011 8:30AM
Maria BelloMaria Bello is set to star in NBC's remake of the classic British crime drama series 'Prime Suspect.'

Bello will play the no-nonsense police Det. Jane Tennison, the role that re-launched Helen Mirren's career in the early 1990s, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed.

In an earlier interview with EW, Bello said that she's "Definitely nervous to even think about taking over for Helen Mirren. ... C'mon! How could anyone compete with her? Didn't she do about 10 of them and win an Emmy every time?"

Bello added that although she's been kept busy with charity work and helping out with the relief efforts in Haiti, she also wants "to do something spectacular with my life work-wise and ['Prime Suspect'] may end up being it."

Various networks have been mulling over a remake of 'Prime Suspect' on and off for years, but this version may be a "go." Originally planned for the fall 2010 season, it's been languishing in development hell over at NBC due to the lack of a suitable leading lady.

However, the project's been revitalized in recent weeks with news that the pilot episode will be helmed by executive producer Peter Berg ('Friday Night Lights'), and that 'Desperate Housewives' producer Alexandra Cunningham has signed on as showrunner. It's now expected to join the slate of new shows debuting on NBC in fall 2011.

The role of Jane Tennison is so closely identified with Mirren that many actresses may have been put off from trying to step into those awfully large shoes. Before 'Prime Suspect' she was primarily known as a Shakespearean stage actress and for roles in movies like 'Excalibur' and 'The Long Good Friday.' Her portrayal of the tough yet vulnerable Tennison won her a whole new fan base and a clutch of Emmy Awards.

The last outing for Mirren's Tennison was 'Prime Suspect: The Final Act,' which aired on PBS in 2007. It saw her dealing with the death of her father, her own alcoholism and impending retirement.

Although Bello had a two-episode stint on 'Law & Order: SVU' last year, she's still best-known on TV for her portrayal of Dr. Anna Del Amico in 'ER.' Since then she's been building up a quietly impressive movie resume, winning Golden Globe nominations for her roles in 'The Cooler' and 'A History of Violence.' At 43, she's around the same age Mirren was when she took on 'Prime Suspect,' so could Jane Tennison be the role of a lifetime for her as well?

We'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more updates on NBC's 'Prime Suspect.'

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why do americans have to redo something that was so prefect the first time around with Helen Mirron....Just rerun the damn series as it was done the first time and let people see really great TV....I mean it's like redoing the Girl with the dragon Tattoo....it's criminal...what the hell is wrong with Hollywood. Just promote the really great stuff first instead of redoing....you can't do something better when it was prefect the first time around. Those Hollywood bastards are talentless and shameless!!!

February 19 2011 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eve Dallas

I think Maura Tierney would be a better choice

February 17 2011 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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