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Casting: James McAvoy joins His Dark Materials; Amanda Seyfried joins Kevin Bacon's Blumhouse thriller

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Jun 8, 2018

The much-anticipated BBC One adaptation of Philip Pullman's beloved His Dark Materials trilogy has reportedly added two key cast members to an already impressive creative team. 

James McAvoy — known to genre fans for his work in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeSplit and, of course, for his role as Professor Charles Xavier in Fox's three most recent X-Men films — has joined the cast as Lord Asriel, one of the most important adult characters in the tale, according to Deadline. Lord Asriel, posing as protagonist Lrya's (Logan's Dafne Keen) uncle and later revealed to be her father, is a fierce and ruthless explorer and aristocrat researching the mysterious substance known as "dust," and the parallel universes at the heart of Pullman's story. In the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass, he was portrayed by Daniel Craig.

Deadline also reports veteran actor Clarke Peters — best known for his work on TV series like The Wire and Treme — has joined the cast as the Master of Jordan College in an alternate universe version of Oxford. The Master raises Lyra and plays a vital role in the inciting incident of The Golden Compass.

His Dark Materials is expected to be an eight-part series and will be the most expensive British TV drama ever made. Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) will direct from a script by Jack Thorne (Wonder). In addition to Keen, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is reportedly set to join the cast as the adventurer and balloonist Lee Scorseby. 


A few weeks back, we learned that Kevin Bacon was partnering with screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park) and acclaimed genre production company Blumhouse (Get Out, the upcoming Halloween) on You Should Have Left, a supernatural thriller about a screenwriter and his wife going mad in the Swiss alps. Now we know who'll play the wife.

Amanda Seyfried, known to genre fans for projects like Red Riding Hood, Pan, and Twin Peaks: The Return, has just joined the film as the wife of Bacon's character, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As previously mentioned, Bacon will play a screenwriter, while Seyfried will play his younger wife, an "actress with a secret." When the pair move to a "remote location" with their young son, suspicions build as they realize that their surroundings "may or may not be obeying all the physical laws of the universe.” 

Koepp will adapt the film from the novel of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann, and will also direct and co-produce the film alongside Bacon, who brought the novel to Koepp in the first place. Production is set to begin later this year.