Cast announced for ‘Downton’ exec’s new BBC One period drama ‘The Miniaturist’

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BBC One’s adaptation of Jessie Burton’s internationally best-selling novel The Miniaturist has started filming.

Adapted by John Brownlow and described as a “ravishing period thriller”, the three-part drama series is a co-production between Masterpiece and the BBC.

Executive producer Rebecca Eaton (Downton Abbey) commented: “The Miniaturist is a riveting book and this adaptation seems to have all the ingredients of the best Masterpiece productions: a page-turning plot, complex characters portrayed by gifted actors and a vivid setting – 17th-century Amsterdam.”

Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Romola Garai (The Hour) and Alex Hassell (Suburbicon) will lead the cast.

They’ll be joined by Paapa Essiedu (Utopia), Hayley Squires (Southcliffe) and Emily Berrington (Humans).

The official synopsis reads: “In 1686, the 18 year-old Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. Full of hopes and dreams, she has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of wealthy merchant, Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell). But instead of Johannes, she’s met by his cold sister Marin (Romola Garai) and their servants (Hayley Squires, Paapa Essiedu) and quickly realises that nothing is as it seems in the Brandt household.

“When Johannes finally appears he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet that is a miniature replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive Miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror what is happening within the house in unexpected ways and seem to be predicting and unravelling the future with unsettling precision.

“As Nella begins to uncover its secrets and those of the Brandt household, she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation, or the architect of their downfall?”

Anya Taylor-Joy commented: “I couldn’t be happier to tell this amazing and atmospheric story with such a wonderful group of people. I immediately fell in love with Nella’s resilience and am so looking forward to telling her story and helping to bring this magical book to life.”

Romola Garai said: “I’m so happy to be part of this superb adaptation of Jessie Burton’s exquisite, genre-bending novel. Marin is a character with an extraordinary journey of true complexity and depth. I am also truly honoured to be working alongside such an extraordinary cast and creative team on bringing this moving and iconic story to life.”

Writer John Brownlow teased: “Jessie’s entrancing novel was a joy to adapt. The depth of her research, the layers of her characters and the way she wove the most modern of themes into a deep period setting to produce a page-turner of a thriller made my work an absolute pleasure, and meant I was able to follow the contours of her story much more faithfully than is sometimes the case.

“What is so special about The Miniaturist is that despite its delicious and unfamiliar period setting, its concerns are absolutely modern: privacy, sexuality, corruption, commerce, hypocrisy, race, public shaming… all woven into a tightly-plotted story full of surprising twists.”

Author Jessie Burton added: “This is an adventure for my book I never dreamed possible, and I’m so happy that The Miniaturist is in such capable and creative hands. The assembled cast is perfect to the vision I had in my mind’s eye in every way, and I know they’ll make magic. Kate Sinclair has created an exciting and powerful framework for the story to be told – and, quite simply, I cannot wait to see it on the screen.”

The Miniaturist will air on BBC One later this year.

Are you looking forward to The Miniaturist? Let us know below…