The TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy epic His Dark Materials has secured its title cast and director. BBC One first announced plans to adapt Pullman’s His Dark Materials into a TV series in 2015, with Bad Wolf producing. And now, Bad Wolf is expected to begin production on the adaptation soon, seeing as their other project, A Discover of Witches, wrapped production last month. National Treasure writer Jack Thorne also signed on to handle scripting duties for the His Dark Materials adaptation.
Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy includes the books Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The story involves a pair of children – Lyra and Will – as they journey across the multiple fantasy universes. Pullman originally conceived the trilogy as a reworking of Milton’s Paradise Lost, which is why it’s filled to the brim with religious themes. The first book, published in the U.S. as The Golden Compass, previously became a film starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in 2007. It was envisioned as being the first installment in a new fantasy series for Warner Bros. Pictures, following the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings a few years prior. Unfortunately, The Golden Compass‘ soft box office returns led to the sequels being canceled. His Dark Materials now gets a second chance to make a successful transition to the screen via BBC One and Bad Wolf’s TV adaptation.
Deadline reports that Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) has signed on to direct the adaptation, with Logan actress Dafne Keen joining the cast as Lyra, the series’ 12-year-old female lead. Entertainment columnist Baz Bamigboye also reveals that Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda has joined the cast as balloonist-adventurer Lee Scoresby.
Tom Hooper is a prominent British TV director, but his most accomplished work so far is arguably 2010’s The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI of England. The rousing feel-good film proved a huge success at the box office and even garnered four Academy Award wins, including Best Picture. He followed up his success by directing the period musical Les Miserables, which itself won three Oscars, as well as The Danish Girl, which centered on pioneering transgender artist Lile Elbe. Even that film picked up four Oscar nominations and one win. Based on his history, if there’s anyone that can tackle BBC’s His Dark Materials adaptation, it’s Hooper.
Meanwhile, Dafne Keen has been talked-about quite a bit in Hollywood following her breakout performance as Laura/X-23 in 2017’s blockbuster, Logan. Talk continues of a possible Logan spin-off centered on Keen’s character, though nothing appears definite. Keen will next appear in Ana, a drama co-starring Andy Garcia. But it seems that she will be taking time out of her busy schedule to star in His Dark Materials alongside acclaimed writer-actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, who continues to rack up accolades and roles in the wake of his massive 2015 Broadway hit, Hamilton. Miranda is slated to appear next in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns alongside Emily Blunt as the iconic magical nanny.
After the disappointment that was 2007’s The Golden Compass, fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials novels surely hope the story receives a more successful treatment this time around. They should definitely feel encouraged by the all the top talent coming aboard to bring the trilogy to life in a big-budgeted adaptation on the small screen.
His Dark Materials does not yet have a premiere date.
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