HBO Teaming with BBC for J.K. Rowling Miniseries Adaptation THE CASUAL VACANCY; Filming Begins This Summer

     April 23, 2014


The miniseries adaptation of author J.K. Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel The Casual Vacancy is getting a high-profile partner.  We learned last year that the BBC was developing an adaptation of the novel in miniseries format, and now HBO has come aboard the project to co-produce the three-hour event.  In a story that is wildly different from the Potter universe, The Casual Vacancy revolves around the lives of a number of people living in a small town who are affected by the sudden death of a town council member.  In the fight to fill the vacant seat, the various wars of the town (rich vs. poor, parents vs. teenagers, etc.) are brought to the surface.  Rowling uses the story to explore themes like social class structure, the welfare state, drugs, and politics, making the miniseries format an excellent fit for the story.

Hit the jump for more on HBO and BBC’s plans for The Casual Vacancy miniseries, including how soon it might come to the small screen and which creatives will be bringing it to fruition.

the-casual-vacancy-book-coverPer THR, Rowling is executive producing the three-hour The Casual Vacancy miniseries alongside her producing partner Neil Blair.  Penning the adaptation will be Sarah Phelps (EastEnders, BBC’s Great Expectations), while Ruth Kenley-Letts (The Hour) will produce and Jonny Campbell (Eric & Ernie) will direct.  While there’s no word on when the miniseries will premiere, production is slated to begin this summer in South West England, so it’s feasible it could be on HBO and the BBC either late this year or early 2015, depending on when the networks want to put Casual Vacancy on their schedules.

This won’t be Rowling’s only brush with adaptations in the near future, as she’s also currently writing the screenplay for a feature film adaptation of her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for Warner Bros.  The pic takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter, but focuses on completely different characters in a slightly earlier time period.  There’s no timetable for that film yet either, but given that Rowling provided Warner Bros. with the most successful film franchise of all time, I’d say she’s earned the right to work at her own pace.

Read the synopsis for The Casual Vacancy below:

A big novel about a small town…

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other. []