NERDIST – We all know British actors are among the most versatile in the whole world of thespians, but if you’d have told us that they could go from stormtrooper or mutant to furry little bunny rabbit, we’d have been pretty skeptical. But it looks like that’s exactly what we’re going to get, thanks to a new miniseries production of Watership Down being co-produced by BBC and Netflix. Deadline is reporting the blockbuster, multi-national affair will feature John Boyega, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, and Gemma Arterton.
The big names will play different rabbit characters in the four-part CG animated series which will air in the UK on BBC One and in North America exclusively to Netflix. It’s being written by Tom Bidwell (My Mad Fat Diary) and directed by Noam Murro (300: Rise Of The Empire).
Watership Down is a novel by Richard Adams that was first published in 1972 and went on to sell millions of copies worldwide. It tells the harrowing story of a group of rabbits who are forced to leave their beloved warren due to the encroachment of man and traverse the dangerous and deadly land to try to reach a new home. It became a masterwork of fiction aimed at young people. In 1978, Martin Rosen adapted the book into an independent animated film (which you can read more about here) which is said to have traumatized many, many British children. That film featured the voices of John Hurt and Richard Briers and featuring the hit song “Bright Eyes” by Art Garfunkel. The book was also adapted for a television series from 1999-2001.
The book and first film are incredibly intense and feature lots of graphic violence (rabbits killing rabbits!) which made it a focus for controversy. Whether this new version will maintain that kind of content is unknown, but it would do a disservice to the source material–and its many, many fans–should they tame it down at all.