Quarry’s Cor­ru­gated Street the set for TV’s His Dark Ma­te­ri­als

Western Mail - - NEWS - NATHAN BEVAN Re­porter nathan.bevan@waleson­line.co.uk

THE mys­te­ri­ous ap­pear­ance of a ram­shackle tin-roofed town in the mid­dle of a Welsh quarry has got the tongues of fan­tasy fans wag­ging.

The strange scene, stum­bled upon by dog walker Adrian Davies, is a clear sign that the big-bud­get TV adap­ta­tion of Phillip Pull­man’s His Dark Ma­te­ri­als tril­ogy of books is well un­der way.

The scat­ter­ing of build­ings which have ma­te­ri­alised at Llang­y­nidr Quarry, near Crick­how­ell, are meant to be the oth­er­worldly town of Trolle­sund, which de­buted in Pull­man’s first novel in the hit se­ries, 1995’s North­ern Lights.

Fol­lowed by an­other two books – The Sub­tle Knife and The Am­ber Spy­glass – the story fol­lows the jour­ney of or­phan Lyra, who lives in a par­al­lel uni­verse in which science, the­ol­ogy and magic are en­twined.

First mooted in 2015, the cur­rent small-screen pro­duc­tion stars Scot­tish X-Men star ac­tor James McAvoy as Lord As­riel (a char­ac­ter played by Daniel Craig in the 2007 film The Golden Com­pass) and Amer­i­can ac­tor Clarke Pe­ters, best known for his role in crime drama The Wire and the Os­car-win­ning movie Three Bill­boards Out­side Ebbing, Mis­souri.

Join­ing the pair will be Lo­gan ac­tress Dafne Keen, who has been cast in the lead role of Lyra, and Hol­ly­wood and Broad­way sen­sa­tion Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, who will play Texan ad­ven­turer Lee Scoresby.

The 38-year-old cre­ator of the award-win­ning Hamil­ton mu­si­cal has been hit­ting head­lines since mov­ing to Wales to shoot the project ear­lier this year.

Most re­cently, the Os­car nom­i­nee caused a stir when he rocked up at a mu­si­cals sin­ga­long night at Cardiff bar Porters and started belt­ing out tunes from Les Mis­er­ables, as well as lead­ing the crowd in a sin­ga­long to the tune My Shot, from Hamil­ton.

That sur­prise ap­pear­ance gar­nered much in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion, in­clud­ing a slot on popular US TV show Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.

His Dark Ma­te­ri­als is not the only ma­jor fan­tasy saga cur­rently shoot­ing in Wales. Yes­ter­day we re­vealed that a pre­quel to the smash-hit se­ries Game of Thrones is be­lieved to be film­ing at Pen­rhyn Castle, near Ban­gor.

An Amer­i­can TV gi­ant has given a pi­lot or­der to the se­ries writ­ten by Jane Gold­man, one of five Game of Thrones projects re­port­edly in the works.

Pro­duced by UK/US-based pro­duc­tion com­pany Bad Wolf and New Line Cin­ema, His Dark Ma­te­ri­als will even­tu­ally be screened on BBC One in 2019.

Adrian Davies

> A set for His Dark Ma­te­ri­als at Llang­y­nidr Quarry, near Crick­how­ell

> His Dark Ma­te­ri­als stars James McAvoy, Dafne Keen and Lin-Manuel Mi­randa

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