Masterpiece brings Jules Verne's classic 'Around the World in 80 Days' to PBS - Albuquerque Journal

Masterpiece brings Jules Verne’s classic ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ to PBS

Ibrahim Koma as Passepartout, David Tennant as Phileas Fogg and Leonie Benesch as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue in “Around the World in 80 Days.” (Courtesy of Slim 80 Days/Federation Entertainment/Peu Communications/ZDF/Be-FILMS/RTBF (Télévision belge)– 2021)

Ibrahim Koma knew that he didn’t want to read Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” before or during filming the upcoming Masterpiece series.

“For me, it wasn’t the right time,” he says. “I’m just reading it now and it’s been amazing.”

At 7:02 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, Masterpiece will premiere the first of eight episodes of “Around the World in 80 Days,” on New Mexico PBS. The remaining episodes will air on Sundays through Feb. 20.

David Tennant stars as literature’s greatest explorer, Phileas Fogg. He is joined on his incredible journey by Koma as Jean Passepartout, Fogg’s irrepressible valet; and German actress Leonie Benesch as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue, a determined and headstrong journalist.

The series introduces new themes, characters, and stories, drawing in part on the author’s own personal history of disappointment in love, and also echoing the record breaking around-the-world trip in 1889-90 by journalist Nellie Bly in emulation of Verne’s plot.

Shot on location on two continents, the miniseries follows our heroes as they head east from London on October 5, 1872, intending to make it back to the reading room of the city’s snobbish Reform Club no later than one o’clock on Christmas Eve.

En route, they take ships, trains, balloons, camels, stagecoaches and other conveyances, while meeting increasingly dangerous obstacles. At stake is a wager of 20,000 British pounds, equal to over $3 million in today’s U.S. currency.

The idea for the trip is sparked by a news article reporting a recently finished railway line in India that completes an unbroken chain of modern transportation links spanning the globe, making it possible to circle the planet in 80 days – at least, in theory.

Koma says having advisors on set helped keep the story moving forward.

“We have a strong view of all the characters that we know,” he says. “I felt very confident in the role and Passepartout helped me find a new dimension to myself.”

While being on set seemed to move swimmingly, there were a few obstacles Koma had to get over.

“The English,” Koma, who is French, says with a laugh. “My English wasn’t as good as it is today. I would spend all my time off set reading the script and learning where to put the emphasis on the words. Most of it I couldn’t understand at the time. The pronunciations were difficult, but I worked with a dialog coach and we spent a couple months together. That was the biggest challenge of being part of the series.”

As the series is presented to the world, Koma is hoping an audience takes it in and thinks about the messages.

“I really hope the audience will be able to relate not only from the book, but from their own experiences in life,” he says. “We change the foundations of the characters and we have three characters that work together. We have more complex characters and I think I want people to identify them and understand that, in life, we are different in so many aspects, but the roots are the same. We all come from similar circumstances. You need to accept people as who they are.”

Home » Entertainment » Masterpiece brings Jules Verne’s classic ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ to PBS


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
'Ice Age Footprints' features the monumental discovery at White ...
Entertainment
'Ice Age Footprints' will premiere at ... 'Ice Age Footprints' will premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, on New Mexico PBS and stream on the PBS Video app
2
The Small Glories coming to NM for concerts, workshops
Entertainment
The Canadian duo will play in ... The Canadian duo will play in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
3
Author Don Winslow finds joy in weaving together words
Arts
Don Winslow will participate in a ... Don Winslow will participate in a talk at the Santa Fe Literary Festival from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.
4
'Under the Banner of Heaven' author Jon Krakauer ready ...
Arts
Krakauer is slated to be on ... Krakauer is slated to be on stage at 4:45 p.m. Sunday, May 22.
5
Inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival connects authors and readers
Arts
The festival is a four-day, multi-event ... The festival is a four-day, multi-event gathering.
6
His own legacy: Hawaiian guitarist Makana sets two NM ...
Entertainment
Music has always been the beat ... Music has always been the beat to Makana's life. Growing up in Hawaii, he has become one of Hawaii's cultural ambassadors to the world. ...
7
ABQ Beer Week returns with events running from May ...
Blogs
The kickoff party will be held ... The kickoff party will be held from 4-7 p.m. May 26 at Bubba's 33.
8
10 projects picked for the New Voices New Mexico ...
Blogs
The training program starts in May ... The training program starts in May and will be conducted in three phases lasting a total of six months.
9
Need a cup of locally roasted coffee or a ...
Dining Reviews
Iconik is, well, an iconic coffee ... Iconik is, well, an iconic coffee shop with two convenient locations, both with full kitchens and different menus.
10
NM actor strives to help nurture the film community
Arts
Sam Quinnn, co-owner of Southwest Scene ... Sam Quinnn, co-owner of Southwest Scene Works, is starting a series called, 'Create Your Own Content.'