Oscar-winning The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper will direct Dafne Keen, best known for starring alongside Hugh Jackman in Marvel’s Oscar-nominated Logan, in a big-budget TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s beloved epic-fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials. According to a Deadline report, Hooper has just closed a deal to direct the eight-part series after lengthy negotiations. Keen will play protagonist Lyra, an orphan who lives in a parallel universe, while none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda will star alongside her as adventurer Lee Scoresby. Jack Thorne (Wonder) adapted the series’ script from Pullman’s novels.
Hooper has reportedly been itching to adapt the series—originally ordered by BBC One in 2015—for some time, with the challenge being balancing his schedule between His Dark Materials and his forthcoming live-action adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Cats for Universal and Working Title. Hooper’s most recent film was 2015’s Oscar-winning The Danish Girl, which earned Alicia Vikander a Best Supporting Actress statuette. Hooper also has extensive TV experience—he’s directed a number of TV series and miniseries since the late ‘90s, the most recent being 2008’s John Adams, which won HBO a handful of Golden Globes.
As for Hooper’s stars, Keen was the breakout star of 2017’s excellent Logan, a critical and commercial success despite its R rating and generally grim tone. Keen appeared opposite Jackman’s Wolverine as his daughter, Laura, code-named X-23, a badass killing machine cloned from Logan’s DNA. Keen’s previous credits include Spanish sci-fi thriller series The Refugees, which ran from 2014-2015. And Miranda hardly needs an introduction, as the Hamilton creator and star has also recently contributed his talents to Disney’s Moana and Disneys’ forthcoming Mary Poppins Returns. He will also produce Showtime’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, which is itself a TV adaptation of a beloved fantasy series, this one penned by Patrick Rothfuss.
Pullman’s trilogy consists of 1995’s Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in North America), 1997’s The Subtle Knife and 2000’s The Amber Spyglass. The first book was adapted into middling 2007 feature film The Golden Compass, starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. Pullman will serve as an executive producer on BBC One’s His Dark Materials adaptation, and to fans’ delight, the author announced a follow-up trilogy to His Dark Materials last spring, titled The Book of Dust. The first book, La Belle Sauvage, was released in October, while the second, The Secret Commonwealth, is currently without a publication date.
Production on His Dark Materials is set to start “soon” in Wales, with producers announcing further casting in the weeks to come. The series is expected to be one of the most expensive British dramas ever made, and streaming services including Apple and Netflix are among those vying for its U.S. and global distribution rights.