Artemis Fowl, the children’s book series from Irish writer Eoin Colfer, has (potentially) found its first star in Dame Judi Dench. The adaptation of the well loved series has been in the works for some time now. In 2013 it was first announced that the books were going to be adapted into a film by Disney. Then in 2015 Kenneth Branagh came on to direct along with playwright Conor McPherson working on a new draft after an initial script from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix screenwriter Michael Goldenberg.
The eight-book series tells the story of twelve-year-old criminal mastermind and genius named Artemis Fowl II. In the first book, he captures a fairy named Holly Short, the captain of the magical police force (called LEPrecon). He holds her ransom in hopes of getting fairy gold and restoring his family’s fortune. This puts him in opposition with the magical world of creatures full of pixies, dwarfs, and centaurs throughout the rest of the series.
According to Variety, Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express) is in talks to join Artemis Fowl. There is no word yet as to what character she could be playing. She could be a genderswapped Julius Root – Holly’s LEP Commander – or the production could invent an entirely new character just for her. Having big names such as Dench and Branagh attached to the film is very good news for fans of the books. Like the Harry Potter series, which boasted an incredible cast of talented British actors, it proves that young adult books don’t just have to be aimed towards kids.
The Artemis Fowl books are more complex than many other stories featuring children. Artemis is no scrappy underdog like Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen. He’s an antihero who can be downright mean and selfish and even unlikable at times. However, as the series progresses, he matures and grows as a character and develops friendships with the Fairy People.
Colfer wrote the first Artemis Fowl book in 2001 so its journey to the big screen has been a long one. If the first movie does well, Disney could be looking at (yet another) hit on their hands as well as the potential to launch a long-running franchise akin to Harry Potter, Maze Runner, or The Hunger Games. And with all those series over (or coming to and end), Artemis Fowl and the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time are coming out at a perfect time. They not only fill the void left by departing franchises, but appeal to both new, young fans and the millennials who grew up with them.
Artemis Fowl comes to theaters on August 9, 2019.
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