casual vacancy casting

Dumbledore was always a supporting character in the Harry Potter movies, but the guy who played him will get to take center stage in the next J.K. Rowling adaptation. Michael Gambon is set to lead HBO/BBC’s The Casual Vacancy, a miniseries adaptation of Rowling’s first “adult” novel.

Starring alongside him will be Julia McKenzie (Notes on a Scandal), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Monica Dolan (Sightseers), Richard Glover (A Field in England), and many more. Hit the jump to get all the details.

The Casual Vacancy, which will consist of three one-hour installments, is scheduled to begin shooting July 7 in South West England. Jonny Campbell (Eric & Ernie) is directing from a script by Brit TV writer Sarah Phelps (EastEnders).

The story unfolds in the quaint little village of Pagford. Underneath its idyllic facade, however, Pagford is home to several warring factions. The rich are battling the poor, teens their parents, wives their husbands, and teachers their students. When a town council seat opens up, the stage is set for all-out war. (By which we mean some dramatic backstabbing and bickering, not, like, an actual war with bombs and soldiers and stuff.)

Gambon will play Howard Mollison, owner of a local deli, and McKenzie his wife Shirley. Rufus Jones and Keeley Hawes will play Howard’s son and daughter-in-law, respectively. Kinnear will play Parish council member Barry Fairbrother.

Also among the cast are Dolan as school guidance counselor Tess Wall; Simon McBurney as her husband, deputy headteacher Colin Wall; Glover as election candidate Simon Price; Marie Critchley as his wife Ruth Price; Keeley Forsyth as drug addict Terri Weedon; Abigail Lawrie as her daughter Krystal; and Michelle Austin as social worker Kay Bawden.

Still remaining to be cast are the roles of Kay’s daughter Gaia Bawden; Barry’s wife Mary Fairbrother; Howard’s business partner Maureen Lowe; Simon’s sons Andrew and Paul; and the Jawanda family.

Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy doesn’t have much at all in common with her Harry Potter novels. It’s an exploration of a strictly non-magical middle-class family, and has been described by the publisher as a “black comedy” and by Rowling herself as a “comic tragedy.” Still, her name alone is bound to attract some curious eyeballs, and it should be interesting to see her take a detour before she dives back into the wizarding world with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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