The upcoming TV adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s very enjoyable (if possibly unfilmable) novel “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell,” which has been described as a combination of Jane Austen and Harry Potter, has found its stars.
Eddie Marsan (“Ray Donovan,” “The Worlds End”) and Bertie Carvel (“Restless,” “Matilda”) will play the two title characters in the seven-part series, a BBC/BBC America co-production. The story is set in an alternate 19th century England in which magic is accepted as having once existed, but is now only studied in a theoretical sense.
The reclusive Mr. Norrell (Marsan) stuns York with a demonstration of how practical magic still exists. Norrell makes statues move, brings someone (problematically) back from the dead and travels to London to help with the war against Napoleon. The studious, fussy Norrell develops a complicated working relationship with Jonathan Strange (Carvel), a charming, wealthy and arrogant man who starts practicing magic himself after he’s told he’s destined to become a great magician.
The series is being directed by Toby Haynes (“The Musketeers,” “Doctor Who”), written by Peter Harness (“Wallander,” “Is Anybody There?”) and produced by Nick Hirschkorn (“Five Children and It”). Filming starts next week. Alice Englert, Marc Warren, Samuel West, Charlotte Riley, Enzo Cilenti and Paul Kaye are also part of the cast.