Though it may not have been met with the critical acclaim or sales numbers of her juggernaut Harry Potter series, British author J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy certainly did not go unnoticed by BBC One and HBO when it hit shelves in 2012. The television networks announced in April that they would be collaborating on a miniseries adaptation of the adult-oriented drama. Now, the impressive cast that the networks have pulled together for The Casual Vacancy, which will run for three one-hour episodes, has been revealed.
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) will take on the role of Howard Mollison, owner of a delicatessen in the town of Pagford. Julia McKenzie (Notes on a Scandal) will play his wife, Shirley. Rufus Jones (Bill) is playing Howard Mollison’s son Miles, and Miles’ wife Samantha Mollison will be portrayed by Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes). Rory Kinnear (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful) is set to play the ill-fated Barry Fairbrother, Keeley Forsyth (Emmerdale) will portray Terri Weedon, and newcomer Abigail Lawrie will take on the role of Terri’s daughter Krystal Weedon.
Monica Dolan (Sightseers) and Simon McBurney (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will play Tess Wall and her husband Colin, respectively. Richard Glover (Sightseers) is playing Simon Price and Marie Critchley (In the Flesh) is his wife Ruth. Finally, Michelle Austin (Another Year) has signed on to play Kay Bawden.
Casting is not yet complete for the miniseries, and additional actors are expected to be announced soon. Production will begin on July 7th in South West England.
The official synopsis for Rowling’s novel reads as follows:
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?
As that description would suggest, The Casual Vacancy featured a large cast of colorful characters. It will be interesting to see how the miniseries, directed by Jonny Campbell (In the Flesh) and written by Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations), handles an equally massive, talented group of actors. No word yet on when to expect this miniseries, but it’s one project that we’ll definitely be watching out for.