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The latest adaptation of Richard Adams’ classic allegorical bunny adventure novel will be a CGI series, with John Boyega, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult and Ben Kingsley previously announced as voicing a group of rabbits, led by the brave Hazel (McAvoy) and visionary Fiver (Hoult). Written by Tom Bidwell, the series also will feature the vocal talents of Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), Freddie Fox (Pride), Anne-Marie Duff (Suffragette), Miles Jupp (The Thick of It) and Olivia Colman, it was previously revealed.
The story follows a group of rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.
Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther) will voice Bluebell; Pike (A Private War, Gone Girl) will voice The Black Rabbit of Inle; Egerton will voice El-Ahrairah; and Capaldi will voice the seagull Kehaar. Other new voice talent includes Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians, Humans) as Dewdrop, Tom Wilkinson (Selma) as Threarah and Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) as Cowslip,
Further cast additions include Mackenzie Crook (Britannia) as Hawkbit; Jason Watkins (The Crown) as Captain Orchis; Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty) as Sainfoin; Henry Goodman (Snatch) as Blackavar; Lee Ingleby (The A Word) as Captain Campion; Charlotte Spencer (Line of Duty) as Nettle; and Daniel Rigby (Sick Note) as Dandelion.
Netflix will show the drama globally outside the U.K., where BBC One will debut it in time for this holiday season.
The adaptation of Watership Down will also feature “Fire on Fire,” an original theme song by Sam Smith, producers announced. The song was co-written with Steve Mac (who co-wrote the Ed Sheeran hit single “Shape of You”), and was recorded by Smith with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
The BBC also released first-look images for the project, which has been developed and produced by U.K. production and management company 42 alongside Noam Murro’s Biscuit Films.
The novel, which was first published in 1972 and went on to sell more than 50 million copies, is set in the idyllic rural landscape of southern England and follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries towards a promised land and a more perfect society.
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