Eva Green to star in BBC adaptation of Man Booker winner The Luminaries

Filming will begin later this year in New Zealand

Eva Green

Penny Dreadful and Casino Royale star Eva Green has been cast in BBC2 drama Luminaries as manipulative and coldly calculating brothel madam Lydia Wells.

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More than two years after the BBC revealed plans to adapt Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, the drama has finally been cast – with filming set to begin in New Zealand in November 2018.

Bridge of Spies actress Eve Hewson will star as the unfortunate adventurer Anna Wetherell, while Kiwi actor Marton Csokas (best known as Celeborn from Lord of the Rings) has taken on the role of the cruel Francis Carver.

Adapted from the acclaimed novel by the author herself, the drama is “coming soon” to BBC2 in the UK and TVNZ1 in New Zealand. Luminaries will be produced by Working Title Television, the company behind shows including London Spy, Gypsy, and You, Me and the Apocalypse.

Green said in a statement: “I’m thrilled to be joining Working Title and this wonderful team. Eleanor has written a series of brilliant screenplays. I loved her original novel and it’s so exciting that her own screen adaptation reveals yet more exquisite material.”

With the novel clocking in at 832 pages, Luminaries is a HUGE story to pack in to just six episodes. Set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island during the 1860s gold rush, it follows the journey of young traveller Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to the other side of the world to begin her new life.

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries

In New Zealand she falls in love with the radiant Emery Staines. That’s the start of a complex mystery around a series of unsolved crimes and murders.

Catton said: “I’ve had tremendous fun adapting this novel for the screen and feel incredibly lucky to be working with such fantastic people across different art forms.

“Writing a novel is a solitary business, but writing for the screen is emphatically collaborative, and to see the world of The Luminaries enlarged and enriched in ways that go far beyond the scope of my own imagination has been a humbling and hugely exhilarating experience. I couldn’t be happier that the brilliant Claire McCarthy is at the helm, and I can’t wait to see this incredible cast bring the story to life.”

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Director McCarthy added: “Ever since I read Eleanor’s incredible novel I’ve been completely captivated by the rich world she has created. What an honour to bring this beautiful and original work to the screen. I’m delighted to be joining forces with such wonderful actors and dynamic creative team.”


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