J.K. Rowling’s novel Casual Vacancy is being made into a TV miniseries in a team effort by the BBC and HBO, and the show’s cast will feature one familiar face for Harry Potter fans.
Casual Vacancy was Rowling’s first book outside the Harry Potter series and her first novel written for an adult audience. It was published in 2012 and has sold 6 million copies since then, a predictable success given the adoration surrounding Harry Potter from adults as well as youth. The novel deals with small-town politics as well as social issues regarding class and drug addiction. The book’s events take place in a suburban town in the U.K. called Pagford, where a city council seat is left open after the death of one of the beloved parish councillors. As a battle for that spot ensues, some of the candidates find their secrets being revealed in an online forum that wreaks havoc on the entire election.
Michael Gambon, best known for portraying Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise from The Prisoner of Azkaban onward, is set to play the parish council head and obese delicatessen owner Howard Mollison. Notes on a Scandal’s Julia McKenzie will play Mollison’s wife, Shirley. Their son, the successful lawyer Miles, who runs for the open parish council seat, will be played by Rufus Jones. Miles’s wife, Samantha, the alcoholic proprietor of a failing bra shop, will be played by Keeley Hawes.
Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy’s Simon McBurney will play Colin Wall, the deputy head teacher at a local school who is also in the running for the parish council seat, though he’s plagued by his difficulties with obsessive compulsive disorder. BAFTA winner Monica Dolan was cast as his wife, Tess Wall, the school’s guidance counselor.