J.K. Rowling is keeping busy. She has the opening of the Wizarding World expansion at Universal Orlando on the horizon, an adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them coming to the big screen, and a miniseries version of her novel The Casual Vacancy headed towards television. Variety reports a chunk of the cast for the latter project has been announced, and it’s star and wizard studded.
Michael Gambon (Dumbledore from Harry Potter) will lead the cast as Howard Mollison. He owns the local delicatessen. Julia McKenzie (Notes on a Scandal) portrays his wife Shirley, and Rufus Jones is on board to play Mollisons’ son, Miles. Keeley Hawes is his Miles’ Samantha. Whew.
Other announced members of the cast include: Monica Dolan, Simon McBurney, Richard Glover, Marie Critchley, and Michelle Austin. If you can believe it, they’ll be revealing additional casting soon for at least five more characters. It seems like they’re getting close to Game of Thrones numbers!
If you haven’t read The Casual Vacancy, don’t go in expecting anything but muggles and drama. It was Rowling’s first book aimed at adults, and according to Variety, it’s focused on the quiet English village of Pagford. All is not as sleepy as it seems though, because the town is at war. There aren’t rifles and barracks, just the quiet conflict that pervades all societies: “Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, and teachers at war with their pupils.”
Bronte Film and Television is producing the miniseries. It’s being written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Jonny Campbell. Production begins in England on July 7.
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