Fans of Susanna Clarke’s justly acclaimed period fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell have long hoped for a big-budget adaptation that would somehow cram all of the book’s more-than-700 pages into a handful of hours. BBC America and the BBC have arrived to ask, “Would you take a lower budget for more time?” having announced the two networks are working together to co-produce a seven-hour version of the novel that will go into production this summer and air on both sometime in 2014. The novel, a Jane Austen-esque telling of two magicians living in an alternate England in the early 1800s, has been rattling around Hollywood as a potential adaptation for a few years. Writing the seven episodes for the BBC/BBCA production will be Peter Harness, the writer behind the generally solid Wallander series. The press release sent out by BBC America also mentions Toby Haynes (episodes of Doctor Who and Sherlock) as a director for the project. With pre-production beginning later this month, no casting has been completed yet, so you may as well suggest your favorites in comments because you’re going to do it already anyway. (We vote somebody puts Ralph Fiennes in this sucker somewhere, because we like Ralph Fiennes.)
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