Netflix and the BBC are teaming up to ensure that no generation of children goes without the character-building experience of waking up screaming at the thought of being messily devoured by rabbits, or drowned in pastoral fields of blood. The streaming service has partnered with the broadcasting company on a new adaptation of Richard Adams’ Watership Down, with a star-studded cast lined up to appear in the ongoing nightmares of every child whose parent puts on “the cute bunny movie” and leaves them to their fates.
Heading up the cast: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega, alongside James McAvoy, Ben Kingsley, and Gemma Arterton. There’s no word yet on who’ll be playing which of the novel’s many doomed rabbits, although it’s not hard to imagine Kingsley’s polished growl emerging from the battered hide of the book’s primary villain, the massive, battle-scarred rabbit General Woundwort.
Watership Down was famously adapted to the screen in 1978, with John Hurt in the starring role of heroic leader Hazel, who attempts to lead his warren to safety from numerous apocalyptic threats. The book was also adapted for TV from 1999 to 2001, with Stephen Fry, Rik Mayall, and Dawn French all lending their vocal talents to the show.
The new miniseries will air in four parts on the BBC, and presumably land in one big block on Netflix for other markets. The Fantastic Mr. Fox animator Pete Dodd will lead the CGI animation for the production.
UPDATE: Variety has posted the actual casting information for this new Watership Down, with X-Men veteran McAvoy playing Hazel, Nicholas Hoult (a.k.a. Nux from Mad Max: Fury Road) as the prophetic Fiver, Boyega as the physically powerful Bigwig, and Kingsley in the role of Woundwort. Meanwhile, Arterton will play Clover, while Peep Show (and a bunch of other great stuff) actress Olivia Colman is playing Strawberry (who’s a male rabbit in Adams’ original book). All told, it’s an amazing cast, only slightly dampened by the fact that the whole thing will be directed by Noam Murro, whose only major credit is 2014’s dismal 300: Rise Of An Empire.