THE CASUAL VACANCY Miniseries Cast Announced; Michael Gambon Leads HBO/BBC’s J.K. Rowling Adaptation

     June 6, 2014


Though Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is currently taking her first crack at scriptwriting by adapting her own book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for Warner Bros., another one of her works that has absolutely nothing to do with the Harry Potter world is firming up on the small screen.  The BBC and HBO are partnering on a miniseries adaptation of Rowling’s first post-Potter novel The Casual Vacancy, and now the cast has been announced for the anticipated effort.  Leading the charge is Dumbledore himself Michael Gambon, who will play Howard Mollison in the adaptation, which revolves around the lives of a number of people living in a small town who are affected by the sudden death of a town council member.  In the fight to fill the vacant seat, the various wars of the town (rich vs. poor, parents vs. teenagers, etc.) are brought to the surface.

Hit the jump to check out the announced cast and to read a synopsis for the book.

the-casual-vacancy-book-coverPer EW, the main cast for The Casual Vacancy is as follows:

  • Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) as Howard Mollison
  • Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty) as Samantha Mollison
  • Julia McKenzie (Notes on a Scandal) as Shirley Mollison
  • Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) as Barry Fairbrother
  • Simon McBurney (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Colin “Chubby” Wall
  • Richard Glover (Sightseers) as Simon Price
  • Marie Chritchley (In the Flesh) as Ruth Price

Other castmembers include Monica Dolan, Abigail Lawrie, Rufus Jones, Keeley Forsyth, and Michelle Austin, with more casting to follow.  Jonny Campbell (In the Flesh) is directing the three-part miniseries from a script by Sarah Phelps (EastEnders), with production set to begin this summer.

Neither The BBC nor HBO have announced a release date yet, but one imagines we won’t be seeing The Casual Vacancy until sometime next year.  Regardless, it’s thematically rich material and the producers have put together a solid cast, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this thing shapes up.  Read the synopsis for Rowling’s book below.

A big novel about a small town…

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?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other. []