Cannes: 'McMafia' Star James Norton Joins Matthew Rhys in 'Heart of Darkness' (Exclusive)

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James Norton

Norton will voice the central character, Marlow, in the animated adaptation of Joseph Conrad's classic.

An animated adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s chilling classic Heart of Darkness has added to its all-star voice cast.

James Norton — star of McMafia, Happy Valley and Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Little Women — has joined Matthew Rhys, Michael Sheen and Andrew Scott in the project and will voice the main character, Marlow, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

Award-winning director Gerald Conn, who won 1998 Welsh BAFTA for animated short The Comet's Tale, is directing via an animation technique he specializes in using sand. Production is taking place across Wales, Ireland and Belgium. 

Conrad's original novella, first published in 1898, was a dark and brooding exploration of human nature and colonialism, telling the story of Marlow, an idealistic seaman captaining a steamboat up the River Congo — then under brutal Belgian rule — in search of a mysterious figure named Kurtz (Sheen) who had carved out a kingdom in which he has power of life and death over his native subjects. The much-studied story has inspired the likes of films such as Apocalypse Now and even video games, including Far Cry 2.

The animated adaptation was written by Mark Jenkins and Mary Kate O Flanagan, with Conn producing via his own Wales-based Gritty Realism banner. Both Screen Ireland and Film Wales have backed the project, while Sheen is also executive producing.

Celsius Entertainment is representing international sales of the film.