Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: The TV Series


Television


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The BBC are mounting a big-budget, seven-part adaptation of Susanna Clarke's seminal 2004 fantasy novel. The series starts shooting in a few weeks and will be filmed in Montreal, Leeds and Venice. It will air in 2014.

For those not familiar with it, the story takes place in an alternate 19th Century England where magic returns to prominence after a practicing magician, Mr. Norrell, goes public. He takes on an apprentice, Jonathan Strange, and they work to help England in its war against Napoleonic France. Strange and Norrell later have a falling out and become rivals.

Bertie Carvel, a noted British stage and musical actor, is playing Jonathan Strange. Eddie Marsan, recently seen as one of the stars of THE WORLD'S END, is playng Mr. Norrell.

It will be interesting to see if they can pull this off. The book is long and complex, with numerous storylines and a large cast of characters. Squeezing the 1,000-page novel into just seven episodes is going to be an impressive feat.


Eddie Marsan is an interesting choice for Mr. Norrell. I'd always pictured him as much older. I can definitely see it working though he's a marvellous actor.


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Wow. I hope they do it justice!


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I want to state at the outset that I'm very, very grateful for the casting so far. Not that I have any inkling of who these actors are. I'm just pleased that Jonathan Strange will be played by neither Brad Pitt, nor Johnny Depp, nor Matt Damon, nor yet Leonardo diCaprio. And we see that this is good. In like vein, the role of Mr. Norrell will not be butchered by that mumbling idiot, Hugh Grant, and will not be gratuitously "galdalfized" by casting Ian McKellen and a long fake beard.

Silver Crusade

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Sweet! Loved that book...


Matthew McConnaughey? Vin Diesel?


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(Shudder)


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I'm very curious about how this played out. There's a very "English" culture quality to the novel; especially the very proper 19th century mores and behaviors mixed in with the fantastical of English mythology.

So I wonder if it will be more akin to a) Downton Abbey with magic or b) Jane Austen/Pride & Prejudice with Fairies or C)Harry Potteresque approach. The first I can see be way more in-line with BBC programming if your goal is to keep it more for British viewers and hope it catches on outside the UK. The second approach might give you a little broader appeal outside the traditional BBC format. If you are going the third route, it seems to be shooting for more attention and appeal outside the UK - you may lose some of the more "British" qualities in order to be mainstream and approachable.

Just some speculation here.

Liberty's Edge

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
(Shudder)

What, you don't want to see what JJ Abrams or Michael Bay could do with it?


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(Vomits copiously)


Alex Martin wrote:
So I wonder if it will be more akin to a) Downton Abbey with magic

But with fewer soap opera cliches, one would hope.


Other than magic are there any other fantasy elements? Magic spellcasting subdued like it was in the Merlin series or should we expect lots of special effects


I'm finding that hard to answer without inundating the thread with gratuitous (and doubtless unappreciated) spoilers. Personally, I would use a minimum of FX (indeed, almost none), but I could see some ham-handed director trying to make a CGI-fest out of it, because that's all the rage now.


I think we can tell a bit more then that without giving to much away.

The magic is certainly not flashy. However, it gets bigger in scope over the course of the book. Once character literally changes geography on a regular basis.

There are also fairies.


I was thinking about landscapes, and how much I'd hate it if some of them were done like in "300."

Sovereign Court

I'd have thought a better way to film the book would have been to have two seasons, with the first season ending at the end of volume 2 of the book.

But hey, if they pull this off, then it'll be one of the best shows of next year.

Liberty's Edge

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
(Vomits copiously)

(Looks down at shoes) A simple no would have sufficed.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
I was thinking about landscapes, and how much I'd hate it if some of them were done like in "300."

I meant the spoilers, actually. But you are right. Art design like in Snyder movies would make the whole thing unwatchable. But that should be to expensive anyway.

Also, the "once" up there should have been a "one".


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Mrs Gersen bought this for me for Solstice, and we're happily watching it (3-4 episodes in). I LOVE the look of Faerieland, when you finally get to see it. Actors are all great for the roles. Small comedic touches are handled very nicely by the director and script. I'm really enjoying the miniseries so far.

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