FX and BBC Set Cast for “Great Expectations” Limited Series
FX and BBC have set the cast for Great Expectations, the six-part limited series adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations from Academy Award(R) nominee and BAFTA Award winning writer Steven Knight. The stellar cast will feature Olivia Colman in the lead role of “Miss Havisham” and Fionn Whitehead as “Pip” alongside Ashley Thomas, Johnny Harris, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Hayley Squires, Owen McDonnell, Trystan Gravelle and Matt Berry.
Great Expectations is the coming-of-age story of an orphan nicknamed “Pip.” Dickens first released it in a series of weekly chapters beginning in December 1860 before it was subsequently published as a novel.
Knight will write and executive produce Great Expectations, which will also be executive produced by Tom Hardy, Ridley Scott, Dean Baker, David W. Zucker, Kate Crowe and Mona Qureshi for the BBC – the team behind A Christmas Carol. Great Expectations will be produced by FX Productions in association with the BBC, Scott Free and Hardy Son & Baker. Lucy Forbes (The End of the F***ing World, In My Skin, This is Going to Hurt) will serve as lead director.
Great Expectations is the second Dickens adaptation penned by Knight, following the hit limited series A Christmas Carol. Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol are the first two in a series of adaptations of Dickens’ novels commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of Drama and Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer at the BBC and FX. The BBC and FX also produced the acclaimed drama series Taboo, starring Tom Hardy, written by Steven Knight and produced by Knight, Hardy, Chips Hardy, Ridley Scott, Dean Baker and Kate Crowe.
Olivia Colman – “Miss Havisham”
Olivia Colman was most recently seen in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, opposite Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley and Peter Saarsgard. The film is based on the novel of the same name by best-selling author Elena Ferrante, which follows a college professor (Colman) who confronts her unsettling past after meeting a woman (Johnson) and her young daughter while on vacation in Italy. For this role, Colman received nominations for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award and Critics Choice Award, and won the Gotham Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Performance in 2021.
Colman will next be seen in Emer Reynolds’ comedy Joyride opposite Charlie Reid. The film follows “Joy” (Colman), a discontented mother who ends up accidentally going on a road trip with “Mully” (Reid) a 12-year-old who steals the taxi she’s unknowingly asleep in, leading to an unlikely friendship. Vertigo Releasing is slated to debut the film in the U.K. and Ireland later this year.
Next year, Colman will be in Paul King’s Wonka alongside Timothée Chalamet and Sally Hawkins. Set as a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it follows the origin story of Willy Wonka based on characters created by Roald Dahl. Warner Bros is slated to release the film March 17, 2023.
Colman is currently in production on Sam Mendes’ film, Empire of Light, opposite Micheal Ward. The film is a love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s. It will be the first solo original screenplay written by Mendes. Searchlight Pictures is attached to distribute the film.
Last year, Colman was seen starring in the HBO/SKY limited series, Landscapers, opposite David Thewlis. The series, created and written by screenwriter Ed Sinclair, was inspired by real-life events, telling the story of a couple in the northern English city of Nottingham who become the focus of an investigation when two dead bodies are discovered in a back garden. Colman and Sinclair’s South of the River Pictures co-produced the series.
Also in 2021, Colman won an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in A Drama Series for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Season 4 of the critically acclaimed Netflix Original series, The Crown, opposite Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter. This is a reprisal of her role from Season 3, for which she won a Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Television Series in 2019. Across both seasons, she also received nominations for a BAFTA, SAG and Critics Choice Awards.
Most notably, Colman won the 2019 Academy Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role as Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’s critically acclaimed The Favourite, opposite Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. The same year she also won the Golden Globe for the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy); the BAFTA award in the category of Best Leading Actress; British Independent Film Award in the category of Best Actress, the Critics’ Choice award in the category Best Actress in a Comedy; and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. It marked her second collaboration with Lanthimos following her role in his dystopian romantic comedy, The Lobster, for which Colman received a British Independent Film Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress, and a nomination for an Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Comedy Performance. Colman was also nominated for the 2021 Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Award for her acclaimed performance in Florian Zeller’s The Father, a feature film adaptation of Zeller’s own award-winning stage play of the same name.
In 2011/2012 Colman won the Best Actress prize at the British Independent Film Awards, Evening Standard British Film Awards, Critics Circle Awards and Empire Awards for her brilliant performance in Paddy Considine’s feature directorial debut Tyrannosaur, opposite Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan. The film also won the World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance at the Sundance international Festival the same year.
Other film credits include: Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday; Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain; Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine and Octavio E. Rodriguez Ron’s Gone Wrong; Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe’s The Mitchells vs the Machines; Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage’s thriller Them That Follow; Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On The Orient Express; Carol Thatcher opposite Meryl Streep in Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady; Rufus Norris’ London Road, Roger Michell’s Hyde Park On Hudson; Steven Knight’s Locke; James Griffiths’ Cuban Fury; and Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz.
On television, Colman was previously seen in the BBC/Amazon’s award-winning Fleabag in her role as “Godmother” for which she garnered an Emmy nomination in 2019 for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the final season of the series and previously, a Television BAFTA nomination in the category of Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme in 2017.
Also on the small screen, Colman won a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, for her portrayal of ‘Angela Burr’ in the BBC/AMC’s The Night Manager. Prior to that, she also won a Television BAFTA for Leading Actress in 2014 for her role as ‘DS Ellie Miller’ in the acclaimed ITV series Broadchurch, which ran for three seasons. In 2013, Colman was the double award-winner at the Television BAFTA’s, winning Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for her reoccurring role in BBC’s Twenty Twelve, as well as Best Supporting Actress for her role in BBC’s Accused. Colman has also received a Television BAFTA nomination in the category of Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme in 2015 for her role as “Alex Smallbone” in BBC’s Rev.
Other television credits include Les Misérables (PBS/BBC Studios); Watership Down (Netflix); Flowers (Channel 4); The Thirteenth Tale (BBC); Mr. Sloane (Sky Atlantic); The Secrets (BBC); The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher II (ITV1); Peep Show (Channel 4); Exile (BBC); and Greenwing (Channel 4).
On stage, Colman’s credits include Long Day’s Journey into Night (Lyric Theatre), England People Very Nice (National Theatre), Hayfever (Noel Coward Theatre) and most recently Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes at the National Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris, for which she won Best Actress in the 2018 Whatsonstage Awards.
Colman has been awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her services to drama, and a BFI Fellowship.
Colman is represented by ICM in the U.S. and United Agents in the U.K.
Fionn Whitehead – “Pip”
Fionn Whitehead is well known for playing the lead in both the multi award winning Dunkirk and the Emmy Award winning Bandersnatch.
Other credits include leading roles in Richard Eyre’s The Children Act opposite Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and Port Authority which was Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese and premiered in competition at Cannes.
Whitehead can currently be seen in Alex McAulay’s debut Don’t Tell a Soul and Neil Burger’s Voyagers. We will see him next in Roger Michell’s The Duke opposite Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent and in Frances O’Connor’s Emily opposite Emma Mackey and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
Whitehead is represented by Curtis Brown Group, United Talent Agency and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher
Ashley Thomas – “Jaggers”
Ashley Thomas is a British actor who is arguably best known for his portrayal of “Henry Emory” in the number one Amazon Prime series Them. Thomas featured as a lead role – the patriarch of a black family who move to an all-white Los Angeles neighbourhood where malevolent forces threaten to destroy them. The Guardian cited “Magnificent performance from Thomas.”
Thomas starred as Jermaine in the popular Netflix drama Top Boy, opposite Ashley Walters. Thomas is also noted for his standout performance in the critically acclaimed HBO series The Night Of alongside Riz Ahmed, Michael K. Williams and John Turturro. In 2012, Ashley was selected to feature in Screen International’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’.
Thomas landed his first acting role in 2010 as “Rager” in the British flick Shank, an independent action film set in a dystopian London. He was part of an ensemble cast in Cockneys vs Zombies, taking up the role of “Mental Mickey.” Metro described Thomas’ performance as “brilliant”. Thomas’ first television role came in 2011 in the Emmy Award-winning series Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker as “Judge Wraith” in the episode “Fifteen Million Merits”. Other cast members included Daniel Kaluuya and Rupert Everett. The Guardian citing “All the performances are good – especially Ashley Thomas as Judge Wraith”.
Thomas’ next project was feature film My Brother the Devil which received critical acclaim, winning awards at both the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival. Thomas starred in the Oscar winning Skin, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2019.
Thomas’ further film credits include: Been So Long (2018), Kill Ben Lyk (2018), Brotherhood (2016) 100 Streets (2016), Dear My Shakespeare: Shakespeare Lives (2016), The Man Inside (2012), The Veteran (2011) and 4321 (2010). Thomas’ other notable TV credits include: 24: Legacy (FOX, 2017), NYPD Blue (ABC, 2019), Salvation (CBS, 2018), The Good Fight (CBS, 2018), Ice (AT&T, 2018), Beowulf (ITV, 2016) and The Interceptor (BBC, 2015).
Thomas is represented by ICM Partners and Independent Talent (UK).
Johnny Harris – “Magwitch”
Johnny Harris first burst onto our screens in 2006 in the highly acclaimed British film London to Brighton.
The film was voted into Time Out Magazine’s ‘100 Greatest British Films of All Time’ and celebrated British director Shane Meadows said of Harris’ performance in the film: “It’s an incredibly bold and massively powerful performance, the best I’ve seen on celluloid for a long time.”
He went on to star in Shane Meadows’ cult television series This Is England ’86 receiving BAFTA and Royal Television Society Award nominations for his performance.
He has since starred in film and TV hits including A Christmas Carol, Jawbone, The Salisbury Poisonings, Snow White and the Huntsman, Fortitude, Troy Fall of a City, Medici, This is England ’88-’90, Monsters: Dark Continent, From Darkness, Welcome to the Punch, and Jack Thorne’s BAFTA Award-winning TV show The Fades.
In 2017 Harris made his debut as a screenwriter with the highly acclaimed feature film Jawbone. Harris also starred in and co-produced the movie. He received a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Outstanding Debut, two BIFA Film Award nominations for his performance in the leading role, and a Writers Guild Award nomination for his screenplay.
Song-writing icon Paul Weller composed and recorded the soundtrack for Jawbone (his first) and in October 2018, Harris made his debut behind the camera, directing the video for Paul’s hit single Gravity.
Harris’ most recent work includes playing Franklin Scrooge in the BBC/FX adaptation of A Christmas Carol alongside Guy Pearce and Andy Serkis, exec-produced by Ridley Scott and Tom Hardy. He also played Charlie Rowley in the highly acclaimed BBC Drama The Salisbury Poisonings, based on the tragic real-life events of 2018. In 2022, he will star in an independent feature film A House in Jerusalem directed by Muayad Alayan and in Without Sin for ITV alongside Vicky McClure, directed by Al Mackay.
Harris is represented by Samira Higham.
Shalom Brune-Franklin – “Estella”
Shalom Brune-Franklin was born in London to her Mauritian mother and British/Thai father. She went on to train at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where she won the inaugural Chris Edmund Performing Arts Scholarship set up by Hugh Jackman for most outstanding performer.
Brune-Franklin has taken the industry by storm and is most known for her outstanding performances in Roadkill opposite Hugh Laurie, in Line of Duty which is one of the BBC’s most watched shows and Cursed for Netflix opposite Katherine Langford.
Brune-Franklin can currently be seen as the lead alongside Jamie Dornan in The Tourist for BBC and HBO.
Brune-Franklin is represented by Hamilton Hodell and Morrissey Management.
Hayley Squires – “Sara”
Hayley Squires just wrapped production on Ari Aster’s next film Disappointment Blvd for A24 opposite Joaquin Phoenix. She’s perhaps best known for her BAFTA-nominated performance in Ken Loach’s movie I, Daniel Blake, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2016 and earned Hayley a BAFTA nomination in the “Best Supporting Actress” category.
This past year alone she appeared in three different critically-acclaimed films: Harry Wootliff’s True Things (just premiered at Venice 2021), Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain opposite Benedict Cumberbatch (just premiered at Toronto 2021) and Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth (premiered at Sundance 2021). Other recent credits include the lead role of Channel 4/HBO Max’s limited series Adult Material (which earned her a BAFTA nomination in the “Best Leading Actress” category), Peter Strickland’s In Fabric, Ben Wheatley’s, Happy New Year Colin Burstead, Sean Durkin’s Southcliffe, SJ Clarkson’s Collateral and the 2018 West End run of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell. She’ll next be seen in the Apple limited series The Essex Serpent, directed by Clio Barnard.
Squires is represented by Management 360 and B-Side Management
Owen McDonnell – “Joe”
Owen McDonnell’s television include Killing Eve Series 1, 2 & 3 (Sid Gentle/BBC America); Responsible Child (Kudos/BBC); Three Families (Studio Lambert/BBC); The Bay (ITV); Women On The Verge (RTE/UKTV); Paula (BBC); Dominion Creek (TG4); My Mother and Other Strangers (BBC/PBS); Silent Witness (BBC); Mount Pleasant (Sky); Single-Handed Series 1-4 (RTE/ITV); Spooks (BBC); Awakening (Studio Lambert/BBC); The Holiday (Halo Pictures); Death In Paradise (Red Planet Pictures/BBC).
McDonnel’s film credits include Conspiracy of Silence (Little Wing Films); Made in Belfast (KGB Films); Swung (Boudica Films/Sigma); The Gift (De Facto Films); Rewind; Teacht Abhaile (both Carbon Films); A Terrible Beauty (Tile Films); Saving the Titanic (PBS); A Year of Greater Love (Mammoth Screen); Wild Decembers (Touchpaper) and the upcoming Stranger With A Camera (Fizzblister Films) and Love & Gelato (Netflix).
His includes Manor (National Theatre); The Ferryman (West End/Gielgud Theatre); A Doll’s House, The Plough and the Stars, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, The Burial at Thebes, Big Maggie and Barbaric Comedies all at the Abbey/National Theatre of Ireland; Outside Mullingar (Bath Theatre Royal); Berlin Hannover Express (Hampstead Theatre); Greta Garbo Came to Donegal and Stones in his Pockets, both for the Tricycle Theatre; Talk of the Town (Landmark/Dublin Theatre Festival). Other theatre includes Translations; Wunderkind; Cruel and Tender; The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lonesome West.
McDonnell is represented by Lisa Richards Agency, London.
Trystan Gravelle – “Compeyson”
Trystan Gravelle is an actor whose work spans feature films, television, theatre and radio.
Television credits include Lord of the Rings, Quiz, Trying, A Discovery of Witches, Baptiste, The Terror, Gap Year, National Treausre, Brittania, Aliens, Utopia, Mr. Selfridge, The Assets and The Chosen.
Feature credits include Beast, Making Noise Quietly, One Chance, Anonymous, Stella Days, The Real American, Hamlet and A Way of Life.
Theater credits include The Frontline, The Birthday Party, 13, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Edgar and Annabelle, There is a War, An Enemy of the People, We The People, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Winter’s Tale, Pericles, The Norman Conquests, An Oak Tree, The Changling, Honest, Leaves of Glass, Days of Significance and Macbeth.
Matt Berry – “Mr. Pumblechuck”
Matt Berry is a BAFTA award-winning actor, writer and musician. He was nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in A Comedy Series for his work as “Lazlo Cravensworth” in FX’s What We Do In the Shadows. In the UK, he recently starred as “Detective Inspector Eli Rabbit” in Year of the Rabbit on Channel 4. In 2015, Berry won a BAFTA for his performance as “Steven Toast” in Toast of London on Channel 4, which he also co-created. The show went on to earn six British Comedy Awards nominations, winning Best New Comedy Program; the second season titled Toast of Tinseltown recently aired on BBC2.
He is a talented voice actor and musician, who recorded introductions for the 2012 London Olympic closing ceremonies and composed the music for AB/DC: A Rock Opera, Snuff Box and Toast of London. Berry has also released nine studio albums to much critical acclaim.
Berry is represented by CAA, MGMT Entertainment, and B-Side Management.
FX, a division of Disney General Entertainment, is a multiplatform brand that develops, produces, commissions and markets original programming for Hulu and the FX and FXX linear channels in the U.S., and Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other international territories. The FX brand mark appears above the title across its entire slate of originals. Over the past two decades, FX has been responsible for some the most-critically acclaimed and award-winning shows on television. Some of the brand’s current and legacy titles include the dramas American Horror Story, American Crime Story, The Americans, Damages, Fargo, Justified, Nip/Tuck, Pose, Rescue Me, The Shield and Sons of Anarchy; the comedies Archer, Atlanta, Better Things, DAVE, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Reservation Dogs and What We Do in the Shadows; and a growing slate of docuseries and documentary films.
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