A Private War star Rosamund Pike, Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi, Crazy Rich Asians’ Gemma Chan and Kingsman’s Taron Egerton have joined the voice cast of the BBC and Netflix’s adaptation of Watership Down.
It comes as the first images of the show are revealed. The quartet join the likes of James McAvoy, Daniel Kaluuya, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, John Boyega and Gemma Arterton, which is produced by 42 and Biscuit Entertainment.
Pike will play The Black Rabbit Of Inlé, Capaldi plays seagull Kehaar, Egerton joins as El-Ahrairah and Chan plays Dewdrop.
Elsewhere, Miles Jupp, Freddie Fox, Mackenzie Crook, Olivia Colman, Anne-Marie Duff, Rory Kinnear, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Watkins, Craig Parkinson, Henry Goodman, Lee Ingleby, Charlotte Spencer and Daniel Rigby round out the A-list cast.
Adapted for the screen by Tom Bidwell (My Mad Fat Diary), Watership Down uses Richard Adams’ bestselling novel as its source to bring a new interpretation to the beloved story. Set in the idyllic rural landscape of southern England, this tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stout-hearted 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.
It will as two special feature length episodes on BBC One at Christmas and will run globally on Netflix. Executive producers are Rory Aitken, Josh Varney, Ben Pugh and Eleanor Moran for 42; Noam Murro for Biscuit Entertainment; Martin Rosen; and Ben Irving for BBC One. The series is co-directed by Alan Short and Seamus Malone and produced by Georgia Dussaud and Cecil Kramer.
British pop star Sam Smith has also written an original song – Fire on Fire – that will serve as the theme tune. It was co-written with Steve Mac and was recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra at London’s Abbey Road Studios in September 2018.
Rory Aitken and Josh Varney, Executive Producers for 42 said, “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Sam – his stunning track resonates deeply with the themes of the show. We’re bowled over by the talent involved in the mini series, both on screen and off; it’s a labour of love to adapt such a deeply moving and important book, and we’re incredibly excited to be bringing the show to television audiences this Christmas.”
Ben Irving, Executive Producer for BBC One added, “It’s a real testament to the calibre of this adaptation of Watership Down that it has attracted such an exciting roll call of names to bring these much loved characters to life. Now – in Sam Smith – we have one of the world’s most successful recording artists, with the perfect new song to serve as the series’ theme. BBC One viewers are in for a treat this Christmas.”