BBC has released a new trailer for the mini-series adaptation of Susanna Clarke‘s brilliant novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Faithfully adapted for the screen by director Toby Haynes (Doctor Who) and screenwriter Peter Harness (Wallander), Strange and Norrell picks takes place in Napoleonic England when practical magic is all but dead to the world. All that remains is a society of priggish old men who pontificate and philosophize on theoretical magic, unable to cast a single spell, until two very different magicians – the peculiar Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) and the whimsical Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvell) – revive English magic and join forces in the war against France.
Trailer via BBC.
Often mismarketed as Harry Potter for adults, an irritating misnomer that somehow manages to belittle both Susanna Clarke’s creativity and J.K. Rowling‘s maturity, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is in fact a glorious beast all its own. In just a minute-long trailer, BBC has captured the wry humor and fantastical set pieces of Clarke’s novel, including a fine-looking stampede of sand horses.
Eddie Marsan is the perfect actor for Mr. Norrell – his casting elicited an actual cheer from me when it was announced – and he looks just as flawless in the role as I imagined. I saw the first two episodes earlier this year and have been waiting not-so-patiently for more. Based on what I saw in January, and what’s on display in this trailer, my hopes for the series are officially very high.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell also stars Alice Englert, Charlotte Riley and Marc Warren, and debuts on BBC America this summer. Here’s the official synopsis:
Set at the beginning of the 19th-century, England no longer believes in practical magic. The reclusive Mr Norrell (Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey stuns the city of York when he causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. With a little persuasion and help from his man of business Childermass (Enzo Cilenti), he goes to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon. It is there Norrell summons a fairy (Warren) to bring Lady Pole (Englert) back from the dead, opening a whole can of worms…