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Dame Judi Dench Will Play Commander Root, a Cigar-Smoking Elf, in the Artemis Fowl Movie

Hyperion cover for Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl"

The Artemis Fowl movie, based on the first book in Eoin Colfer’s best-selling young adult series, has announced its main cast. I’m particularly excited about one intriguing casting choice. Dame Judi Dench has been cast to play Commander Root, the grizzled, cigar-smoking elf who serves as the leader of LEPRecon, the elite reconnaissance division of the fairy police force. In the novels, Root is a man (Julius Root, in full), but it appears that the movie version will instead make this character a woman.

They may also be making some changes to the character’s personality. In the novels, Root is nicknamed “Beetroot” because of how often his face becomes purple with rage, and there are frequent references to his ulcers and furies, but Deadline describes Dent’s character as a “steely leader of the fairy police force.”

Either way, I’m glad to hear that Dench will take on the role. In the novels, there’s a relatively old-fashioned subplot about Root being too hard on Commander Holly Short, one of the series’ protagonists, because she’s the first female to join the elite LEPRecon. I’d be delighted if that didn’t have to bog down the movie.

The first Artemis Fowl follows its twelve-year-old title character, a millionaire genius, after he kidnaps Captain Holly Short, a fairy who’s part of the elite LEPRecon Unit, and demands a massive ransom. However, these fairies are just as armed, dangerous, and clever as Artemis himself, and he gets more than he bargained for.

In addition to Dent, Artemis Fowl has also cast Ferdia Shaw, a newcomer, as the title character; Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniac dwarf; Lara McDonnell as Captain Holly Short, a half-elf, half-leprechaun member of LEPRecon; and Nonso Anozie will play Artemis’ bodyguard, Butler. Kenneth Branagh will direct from a script by Conor McPherson (The Eclipse, The Actors).

Artemis Fowl is set to hit theaters on August 9, 2019.

(Via Deadline; image via Hyperion Books)

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