Titanic and Twin Peaks actor Billy Zane has joined the cast of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow for a season 3 episode, in which he will play P.T. Barnham.
It will be the first time Zane has shared the screen with Victor Garber since the two starred together in Titanic, something showrunners are not unaware of.
Announcing the news to EW, showrunner Phil Klemmer gushed about Zane and explained why he’s the perfect candidate to play one of history’s greatest showmen.
“Obviously, we couldn’t resist putting Victor Garber and Billy Zane back on screen for the first time since the Titanic,” Klemmer said. “But I’ve wanted to bring Billy onto Legends every since I saw him in a friend’s comedy pilot. I’m not sure that people know how funny Billy is, although we cast him as P.T. Barnum because we knew that he would be able to find the soul beneath the larger-than-life showman. Truth is, Barnum never said ‘there’s a sucker born every minute.’ He was less a conman, more the father of modern advertising. A guy who made things ‘go viral’ before that was a thing. Sure, in one sense, he’s the villain of our story, but in another, he’s just a guy who wants to put on a good show. Anyone who works in TV can relate to that, right?! Anyway, Billy seemed like the perfect guy to get that duality.”
That larger-than-life character is something that has followed Zane into numerous projects. Sometimes pigeonholed as a mustache-twirling villain, he managed to elevate that campy persona into brand, complete with the occasional self-aware, self-referential humor.
Zane played the villain on the series finale of Psych, a show on which Zane himself had been name-dropped by the characters numerous times throughout the show’srun.
“The thing about history books is that they turn famous people into 2-D characters,” Klemmer said. “This season on Legends, we want to meet other famous figures from history, people like Barnum, people we think we know, so that we can find the aspects of them, the parts of their story, that the history books left out — we want to bring history to life by infusing it with heart, humor, and total absurdity (often at the same time).”
After the defeat of Eobard Thawne and his equally nefarious Legion of Doom, the Legends face a new threat created by their actions at the end of last season. In revisiting a moment in time that they had already participated in, they have essentially fractured the timeline and created anachronisms – a scattering of people, animals, and objects all across time! Our team must find a way to return all the anachronisms to their original timelines before the time stream falls apart. But before our Legends can jump back into action, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his newly established Time Bureau call their methods into question. With the Time Bureau effectively the new sheriffs in town, the Legends disband – until Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) discovers one of them in the middle of his well-deserved vacation in Aruba. Seeing this as an opportunity to continue their time travelling heroics, Sara (Caity Lotz) wastes no time in getting the Legends back together.
We reunite with billionaire inventor Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), the unconventional historian-turned-superhero Nick Heywood (Nick Zano), and Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together form the meta-human Firestorm. Once reunited, the Legends will challenge the Time Bureau’s authority over the timeline and insist that however messy their methods may be, some problems are beyond the Bureau’s capabilities. Some problems can only be fixed by Legends.
Based on the characters from DC, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”), Marc Guggenheim (“Arrow,” “Trollhunters,” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”), Andrew Kreisberg (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Eli Stone,” “Warehouse 13”), Phil Klemmer (“The Tomorrow People,” “Chuck”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash”)