Casting revealed for BBC One’s gripping adaptation of The Miniaturist

This is an adventure for my book I never dreamed possible... the assembled cast is perfect to the vision I had in my mind’s eyeJessie Burton
Date: 07.04.2017     Last updated: 07.04.2017 at 12.00
Category: BBC One; Casting; Drama
Filming for The Miniaturist, BBC One’s adaptation of Jessie Burton’s internationally best-selling novel has begun. A ravishing period thriller, it is a The Forge production for the BBC co-produced with Masterpiece and adapted by John Brownlow.

It stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch), Romola Garai (The Hour, The Crimson Petal And The White, Atonement) and Alex Hassell (Suburbicon, Anonymous), alongside Paapa Essiedu (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Utopia), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake; Southcliffe) and Emily Berrington (Humans, The Inbetweeners 2). 

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?

On being cast in The Miniaturist, Anya Taylor-Joy says: “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 adds: “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.”

Jessie Burton adds: “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.”

John Brownlow says: "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."

Kate Sinclair, Executive Producer for The Forge, says: “From the moment I read The Miniaturist in manuscript, I knew in my gut it was something truly unique - an exquisite mix of another world with the resonances of our own, not to mention characters to die for. I’m truly privileged that Jessie chose to entrust her extraordinary book to me and feel that along with the totally A-list cast, and John Brownlow’s superb scripts, we can create something together that will do justice to the utter brilliance of her novel.”

Elizabeth Kilgarriff, Executive Producer for the BBC, says: “Jessie Burton's story of secrets, intrigue and delicious twists and turns is peopled with the most wonderful characters and it's no surprise that they - brought to life in John's fantastic scripts - have enticed such an exciting and talented cast. I can't wait to see them work their magic in what promises to be a spectacular treat for the BBC One audience.”

Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer for Masterpiece, says: “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.”

Notes to Editors
The Miniaturist is a production by The Forge for the BBC, co-produced with Masterpiece. Adapted by John Brownlow and directed by Guillem Morales, Gethin Scourfield is the producer. The Executive Producers are Kate Sinclair and George Faber for The Forge, Elizabeth Kilgarriff for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Filming is taking place in both Holland and the UK. The 3x60’ series will transmit in 2017. It is distributed internationally by all3media.