There’s been much ado about Kenneth Branagh’s live action Artemis Fowl adaptation. After years in development hell, the main cast of the upcoming fantasy film has been announced by Disney. The casting announcement comes amidst off-screen chaos, as producer Harvey Weinstein was removed from the project in October after multiple accusations of sexual assault. The Weinstein Company was also removed from the production altogether.
Ferdie Shaw as Artemis Fowl
The casting of Artemis was a sticking point for the series’s author Eoin Colfer, who insisted on an Irish actor to portray the young mastermind. After a long search involving over 1200 young actors, newcomer Artie Shaw has been chosen for the role. Portraying Artemis will be a challenge for the young actor, who will need to portray a young boy growing a heart despite his cold-blooded arrogance.
Lara McDonnel as Captain Holly Short
Joining Shaw will be Irish actress Lara McDonnel as Holly Short, the LEP captain Fowl kidnaps in order to get at fairy gold. McDonnel is most famous for her run as the title character in the West End production of Matilda. The casting of McDonnel is an interesting choice, as the actress is only fourteen years old. While Holly is meant to be young and headstrong, and admittedly short, she is still nearly 80 years old, a competent LEP captain, and by all appearances an adult. How the film handles a young actress acting above her age will be interesting.
Dame Judi Dench as Commander Root
Judi Dench (Philomena, Shakespeare In Love) will be playing what we assume to be a genderbent Commander Julius Root, no doubt drawing on her experience as M in the James Bond films. Julius Root is the archetypal police chief of the Lower Elements Police, called “Beetroot” by his subordinates thanks to his short temper and the redness of his face when that temper hits. Despite his anger issues, he is a well-respected commander who is extremely protective of the officers under his charge.
Nonzo Anozie as Butler
Disney has made another interesting choice in casting English actor Nonzo Anozie (Game of Thrones, Cinderella) as Artemis Fowl’s loyal bodygurad Butler. In the original series, Butler is described as “Eurasian,” has the given name of Domovoi, and who’s sister, Juliet, is blonde haired. Nonzo, known for his portrayal of Xoro Xhoan Doxos, is of Igbo-Nigerian descent. He certainly has the size of the character down, and it’s always good to see a predominantly white cast diversify a bit, especially in a film aiming at a family audience.
Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums
Speaking of family audiences, the king of obnoxious kid appeal Josh Gad (Beauty & The Beast, Frozen) has been cast as kleptomaniac dwarf Mulch Diggums. Known for his bevy of gross dwarven adaptations, including deadly flatulance and an extreme appetite. The casting of Gad, who also appeared in Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, no doubt signals that Mulch will be fulfilling a broad comic relief role which will probably take up more of the story than necessary. We will also have to suffer through seeing Gad rock an extremely fake-looking beard.
The film will be written by Irish writer Conor Mcpherson, and is due for release August 9, 2019.
Featured image courtesy of Miramax