Disney announced today initial casting for the live-action adaptation of Artemis Fowl, which will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Branagh and Judy Hofflund.
The search for an actor to play Artemis Fowl was extensive, with casting director Lucy Bevan seeing over 1200 candidates for the part. Branagh chose Irish newcomer Ferdia Shaw, who will make his onscreen debut in the title role. Descended from a long line of criminal masterminds, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.
Josh Gad (Murder on the Orient Express, Marshall, Beauty and the Beast) has signed on for the role of Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniacal dwarf who works for the fairies—and himself. Academy Award® winner Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Skyfall) takes on the role of Commander Root, the steely leader of the fairy police force (LEPrecon). Lara McDonnell (The Delinquent Season, Love, Rosie is a contemporary drama directed by Paddy Breathnach from a script by Roddy Doyle, and starring Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford., The Walk Invisible) has been cast in the role of Captain Holly Short, the elf hero. Nonso Anozie (Cinderella, The Grey, Ender’s Game) will play Butler, Artemis Fowl’s formidable bodyguard.
Based on the bestselling book series by Eoin Colfer and with a screenplay by award-winning playwright Conor McPherson, Artemis Fowl is slated for release in Irish cinemas in 2019. Production will begin early next year in the U.K.