A topline cast has been announced for HBO BBC miniseries His Dark Materials which will screen on Foxtel later this year.
Based on Philip Pullman’s novel the cast now includes Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen McCrory and David Suchet amongst others.
His Dark Materials explores a world in which sentient, talking animals are found in two ways.
Each human is accompanied by their daemon; the physical manifestation of a person’s soul, a reflection of their inner self and their lifelong companion through the world.
Daemons take on the appearance of an animal, but with the voice and the intelligence of a human. In childhood, a daemon can change its animal form at will, but at a certain stage of adolescence a daemon settles into its final form – forever reflecting the character of their person.
Alongside the previously announced cast for the series (Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and Lin-Manuel Miranda) are some of the world’s finest acting talent – who will voice these animalistic daemon characters within the series.
Helen McCrory (Harry Potter) voices Stelmaria, Lord Asriel’s Snow Leopard, while David Suchet (Poirot) is Kaisa, gyrfalcon daemon to the witch Serafina Pekkala (played by Ruta Gedmintas).
Aeronaut Lee Scoresby’s daemon is an arctic hare called Hester, voiced by American comedian Cristela Alonzo and Lyra Belacqua’s unsettled daemon, Pantalaimon, is voiced by Kit Connor (Rocketman).
Although Mrs Coulter’s mysterious Golden Monkey doesn’t speak or have a name, his animal noises and vocal characteristics will be created by Brian Fisher (Detective Pikachu), who is also lead puppeteer and CFX coordinator on the series. Puppets were used on set to help the actors form a relationship with their daemon before being created in CGI by Framestore.
Finally, in the frozen wilderness of the North exist a race of armoured bears (or panserbjørne). Both skilled metal workers and fierce warriors, they have their own culture and laws. Notable to the series is Iorek Byrnison, a bear who Lyra meets on her quest who will be voiced by Joe Tandberg (The Innocents).
Lyra (Dafne Keen) is the young protagonist of the story who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Placed there at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) she lives a sheltered life amongst the scholars and college staff while under the watchful protection of The Master (Clarke Peters) and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder).
When the glamorous and mesmeric Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) enters Lyra’s life she embarks upon a dangerous journey of discovery from Oxford to London. Here she meets Father Macphail (Will Keen), Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and journalist Adele Starminster (Georgina Campbell) at a glittering society party where she first hears about the sinister General Oblation Board.
Lyra is subsequently thrown into the nomadic world of the boat dwelling Gyptians – Ma Costa (Anne-Marie Duff), Farder Coram (James Cosmo), John Faa (Lucian Msamati), Raymond Van Geritt (Mat Fraser), Jack Verhoeven (Geoff Bell) and Benjamin de Ruyter (Simon Manyonda) who take her North in her quest. Once in the North she meets charismatic aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who joins them on their epic journey and who becomes one of Lyra’s closest allies.
His Dark Materials is produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema. An airdate is yet to be announced.