Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has announced the start of production on its adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s best-selling book series, Artemis Fowl. Principal photography has begun, with shoots set for England, Northern Ireland and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The live-action fairy fantasy is being directed by Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella, Thor) and adapted for the screen by award-winning playwright Conor McPherson (writer/director, The Eclipse).
Descended from a long line of criminal masterminds, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl (played by newcomer Ferdia Shaw) finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance. Lara McDonnell (Love, Rosie) playing Captain Holly Short, a feisty, spirited elf, who is kidnapped by Artemis for a ransom of fairy gold.
In the underground fairy world of Haven City, Academy Award-winner Dame Judi Dench (Skyfall) plays Commander Root, the leader of the reconnaissance division of the LEPrecon — the fairy police force — and Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast) plays Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniac dwarf who attempts to help rescue Holly. Above ground, Nonso Anozie (Cinderella) plays the Fowl family bodyguard, named Butler, and Tamara Smart (The Worst Witch) plays Butler’s niece Juliet. Miranda Raison (Murder on the Orient Express) plays Artemis’ mother Angeline.
The cast also includes Josh McGuire (About Time), Hong Chau (Downsizing), Nikesh Patel (London Has Fallen), Michael Abubakar (Trust Me), Jake Davies (A Brilliant Young Mind), Rachel Denning (Doctor Who), Matt Jessup (Dread), Simone Kirby (Alice Through the Looking Glass), Sally Messham (Allied) and Adrian Scarborough (Les Misérables).
Branagh brings back several members of his creative team, including Haris Zambarloukos, director of photography; Jim Clay, production designer; Patrick Doyle, composer; and Carol Hemming, hair and makeup designer—all of whom worked on his 2017 directorial project, Murder on the Orient Express. The costume designer is Sammy Sheldon Differ (Assassin’s Creed), and the film will be edited by Martin Walsh (Wonder Woman). The film is produced by Branagh and Judy Hofflund, with Matthew Jenkins and Angus More Gordon serving as exec producers.