Philip Pullman’s beloved fantasy series His Dark Materials is getting a fresh adaptation, and we’ve finally got some updates. The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper has signed on to oversee a big-budget adaptation of the fantasy epic, with Logan breakout Dafne Keen set to star. In case you missed the initial report back in 2015, fans of the three-book series will be pleased to hear that the source material is getting more than a two-hour movie to translate Pullman’s complex science-meets-fantasy tale, with an 8-part series on BBC One.
Deadline reports that Hooper had his eye on the project for a while and was working to make the timing work with his live-action adaptation of the Broadway musical Cats. Per the report, the deal is signed and Hooper is on board to oversee the series from former BBC executives Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner’s Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema. National Treasure and Wonder writer Jack Thorne wrote the series in 2015.
Keen made a big debut in Logan, where she took on the challenging role of Laura, aka X-23, the furious little mutant who teamed up with Wolverine for Hugh Jackman’s franchise swan song. Keen will be taking on the role of Lyra in the His Dark Materials series, the heroine of the book series who lives in a parallel universe to our own and teams up with the young Will Parry for a magical adventure. Pullman’s book series included three novels, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, the first of which was previously adapted with the 2007 movie The Golden Compass.
The new series adaptation is expected to be one of the most expensive British dramas to date. Bad Wolf and distributor BBC Worldwide have been in talks with a number of international networks and streaming services, with Apple and Netflix reportedly in talks for the U.S. and global rights.
Here’s what Pullman said of the project when it was first announced:
“It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel — and now comes this version for television.”
“In recent years we’ve seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations (‘Game of Thrones’) or original (‘The Sopranos,’ ‘The Wire’), can reach depths of characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel. And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable.
“For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of ‘His Dark Materials.’ I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, whose experience, imagination, and drive are second to none. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”
No word yet on when we should expect to see the adaptation hit the airwaves, but the news is a welcome piece of progress for the long-developed project.