It’s a bit hard to summarize to Sussanna Clarke‘s dense, funny and magical epic “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,” It’s about the battle between two magicians, but it’s also a romance that dabbles in alternate history and in which both Napoleon and fairies can co-exist, all told in “old tyme” language. Thus, the prospect of a movie adaptation of the nearly 800-page book (teeming with footnotes) seemed foolhardy. But since we’re in the golden age of television, a seven-part miniseries seems like the right approach, and the first trailer for BBC’s big undertaking is here.
Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel take on the lead roles of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell respectively, with Alice Englert, Marc Warren, Samuel West, and Charlotte Riley in supporting roles in what looks like a very spirited adaptation of the novel. I’m definitely looking forward to see if can capture the um, magic, of Clarke’s excellent book. Here’s the official synopsis:
Set at the beginning of the 19th-century, England no longer believes in practical magic. The reclusive Mr Norrell (Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey stuns the city of York when he causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. With a little persuasion and help from his man of business Childermass (Enzo Cilenti), he goes to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon. It is there Norrell summons a fairy (Warren) to bring Lady Pole (Englert) back from the dead, opening a whole can of worms…
“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” arrives on BBC One in May. No word yet on when someone will wave a magic wand to get it across the pond. Watch below. [SciFiNow]