Freddie Highmore joins Leonardo da Vinci drama series

Actor Freddie Highmore

The "Good Doctor" star has joined the cast of "Leonardo," a TV drama that will center on the life of iconic artist Leonardo da Vinci.

Frank Spotnitz ("The Man in the High Castle") and writer Steve Thompson ("Sherlock") will develop "Leonardo," an English-language TV series that will portray the Renaissance genius as a gay outsider. Each episode will examine one of da Vinci's artworks for clues about a tortured artist struggling to achieve perfection.

Highmore ("Bates Motel," "The Good Doctor" )has signed on to play Stefano Giraldi, a fictional police detective who will dig into da Vinci's past while investigating him as a suspect in a murder case.

The Alliance, a new co-production group formed by Italian public broadcaster RAI, France Televisions and ZDF in Germany is backing the show. Highmore's production company, Alfresco Pictures, will join Italy's Luxe Vide and Spotnitz's Big Light Productions to produce the show. Highmore and Alfresco's Claire Londy will executive produce.

Aiden Turner ("Poldark") will play da Vinci, while Daniel Percival ("The Man in the High Castle") will direct.

"Capturing the character of Leonardo has been one of the most fascinating and exciting challenges of my career," Spotnitz said in a statement. "It's hard to fathom that a man this extraordinary could even have existed, let alone the human impulses that drove him to achieve such extraordinary things."