Logan star Dafne Keen for BBC's His Dark Materials from Tom Hooper

Dafne Keen in Logan (Credit: Fox)
Dafne Keen in Logan (Credit: Fox)

Dafne Keen, the star of X-Men spin-off Logan, has signed up for the lead role in the BBC’s big budget adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Tom Hooper, helmsman of Oscar-winners including Les Misérables and The King’s Speech, is now on board to direct, according to Deadline, after working his scheduling around a forthcoming movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats.

Keen will play Lyra Belacqua in the planned eight-part series, an orphaned girl brought up in an alternate version of Oxford, who comes into possession of a valuable instrument which can answer any question asked of it.

Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda has also been cast, playing Lee Scoresby, an aeronaut who helps her in her quest to defeat a powerful religious organisation which is kidnapping children.

The series will follow Pullman’s acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

(Credit: Scholastic)
(Credit: Scholastic)

After the project was announced in 2015, the writer said: “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 characterisation 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.’”

Further casting of the series will be confirmed in the coming weeks, with filming set to begin in Wales soon.

A film of the first book, Northern Lights, was made in 2007, starring Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, and Nicole Kidman.

Renamed The Golden Compass, it received mixed reviews, and failed to light up the box office.

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