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Cast for the BBC adaptation of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries announced

Eva Green, Eve Hewson and Marton Csokas.
The BBC television adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s novel The Luminaries has in its cast a former Bond girl, a former Shortland Street star, and the daughter of one of the world’s biggest rock stars. The lead roles have been announced ahead of the mini-series starting production.

The onetime Bond co-star is Eva Green, who played Vesper Lynd opposite Daniel Craig when he debuted as 007 in 2006’s Casino Royale.

The French-born actress has also played femme fatale and glamorously gothic characters in fantasy television shows (Penny Dreadful, Camelot) and Tim Burton movies (Dark Shadows, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children). She will play Lydia Wells in The Luminaries.

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The former Shortland Street-er is Marton Csokas whose early 90s stint as Dr Leonard Rossi-Dodds acted as a springboard to an international career. He has made a speciality of playing villains of various nationalities, most recently starring in the martial arts series Into the Badlands. He and Green, who he starred alongside in films Kingdom of Heaven and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, were for a while romantically involved. Csokas will play Francis Carver in the book adaptation.

The rock star offspring is Eve Hewson, the daughter of Paul Hewson, otherwise known as Bono of the band U2. The 27 year-old Irish actress, who was christened “Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson” has appeared in the period television series The Knick. She will play Anna Wetherell in The Luminaries.

The six-part mini-series to be directed by Australian Claire McCarthy from a screenplay by Catton will start filming in New Zealand in November.  The lengthy novel, which won Catton the Man Booker Prize in 2013, is set in the 1860s gold rush years on the South Island’s West Coast.

Eleanor Catton. Photo/Robert Catto

It is being produced by Britain’s Working Title Television (which is helmed by NZ-born executive producer Tim Bevan) and Southern Light Films (whose Tim White has produced many films on both sides of the Tasman).

The backers of the series include the NZ Film Commission and it is due to screen on BBC Two and TVNZ in 2019.

Catton’s first novel, The Rehearsal was adapted by director Alison Maclean and writer Emily Perkins into a movie of the same name in 2016 but it made little impact at home or on the international festival circuit.

Meanwhile, Catton’s third novel, a contemporary psychological thriller entitled Birnam Wood, is yet to emerge after being announced early last year.

Catton’s NZ publishers Victoria University Press will publish a new edition of The Luminaries to tie-in with the television series.