Many who were fans of Harry Potter as it was coming out will remember the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, as they came out at a similar time and spawned seven sequels. Although its been in development for years, Disney has finally released its cast list for the film adaptation of the Young Adult fantasy series to be directed by Kenneth Branagh.
The books tell the tale of millionaire child genius Artemis, who spends his summer holidays committing crimes against the magical kingdom, a society of fairies and other mythical creatures. Disney’s been sitting on the rights since 2013 and it’s likely that a film series was intended to come out much earlier as a competitor to Warner Brothers’ highly successful Harry Potter movies.
Left to right: Ferdia Shaw, Dame Judy Dench, Nonso Anozie, Josh Gad
Ferdia Shaw has been hast in his first acting role as the lead, alongside Nonso Anozie (Conan The Barbarian, Cinderella) as the bodyguard Butler. Laura McDonnell (The Delinquent Season) will play Captain Holly Short, hero of the fairy police force, while Dame Judy Dench will play the leader of the force, Commander Root. Josh Gad (Cinderella) also joins the fairy team as Mulch Diggums, a lock-picking dwarf with kleptomaniac tendencies.
In many ways, Artemis Fowl could be seen as a dark reflection of Harry Potter. While Harry and his friends are decidedly the “good guys”, Artemis is an unrepentant criminal mastermind.
As you read Harry Potter, you join his sense of wonder at the magical world. Artemis and the fairies are sworn enemies, constantly trying to outwit each other, and while Harry relies on his childhood friends, Artemis has only his bodyguard for company. These little subversions and twists give the stories a more cynical, morally-grey take on the YA fantasy genre.
The script was written by Conor McPherson (The Eclipse). Harvey Weinstein was originally set to produce but was terminated in October following the sexual assault allegations, leaving the position open.
With Branagh at the helm, it’s likely the film will be something to look forward to for fans of the books and fantasy alike. It may even spark a series, but with a release date of August 9th 2019, we have a way to go before it reaches our screens.