James McAvoy

James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson Join BBC’s His Dark Materials Drama Series

The beloved fantasy epic will be adapted into an eight-part mini-series on the BBC
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Hold onto your daemons: Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy His Dark Materials trilogy is getting the prestige TV drama treatment it deserves. James McAvoy, Clarke Peters (Jessica Jones) and Ruth Wilson (The Affair) have signed on to star. The eight part mini-series is being adapted for the BBC by writer Jack Thorne (The Last Panthers, Wonder) and produced by Bad Wolf (The Night Of) and New Line Cinema.

The series is based on Pullman’s trilogy of books: Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass as it’s known to American readers), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, a sprawling tale of physics, philosophy and theology featuring witches, animal daemons and armored polar bears. It tells the story of two children, Lyra and Will, who wander through a series of parallel universes. The books have been published in more than forty languages and have sold worldwide close to 17.5 million copies.

Philip Pullman says of the adaptation:

“In recent years we’ve seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel. And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable. For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials.”

The series protagonist Lyra Belacqua will be played by Dafne Keen (Logan‘s X-23) with McAvoy playing Lyra’s uncle Lord Asriel and Wilson playing the villainous Mrs. Coulter. Lin-Manuel Miranda was previously announced as explorer Lee Scoresby. Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) is attached to direct.

The series was previously adapted into a feature film, The Golden Compass, in 2007 starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. It was planned as the first in a film trilogy, but a disappointing box office and middling reviews shut down any chances for a sequel.

(via Deadline, image: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.