The Luminaries BBC Series: What We Know

luminaries bbc movie release date cast

A BBC adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries in coming in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the BBC’s Luminaries adaptation.

What’s it about? What’s the plot?

From the official synopsis:

The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860’s gold rush.

The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines, an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?

The Luminaries was published on September 5, 2013 and won the 2013 Man Booker Prize a month later, in October. Catton is the youngest winner ever of the Man Booker Prize (as of 2019).

On the set of The Luminaries (2020)

On the set of The Luminaries (2020)

What format will it be? Will the Luminaries adaptation be a Movie or a Series?

It’s planned as a limited series, consisting of six one-hour long episodes.

Who’s behind it?

The Luminaries is a BBC title that’s being produced by Working Title Television on their behalf. Lucy Richer is executive producing on behalf of the BBC.

Working Title Television is a British production company owned by Universal Pictures. Other recent TV productions from Working Title include Hanna (2019) and The Case Against Adnan Syed (2019).

The Luminaries will be shot in New Zealand and directed by Claire McCarthy. McCarthy previously directed Ophelia (2018) and will be directing The Burning Season starring Naomi Watts.

The scriptwriter is author Eleanor Catton, who opted to adapt her own book for the screen.

What’s the status of the BBC Luminaries adaptation?

The adaptation is currently in post-production. Filming for the 6-episode limited series took place in New Zealand and wrapped around March 31, 2019.

Who’s in the cast?

Eva Green plays the role of Lydia Wells, the calculating brothel madam. Other cast include:

Himesh Patel as Emery Staines
Eve Hewson as Anna Wetherell

See the full cast list on IMDB.

Eva Green in the BBC's Adaptation of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries (2020)

Eva Green in the BBC’s Adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (2020)

When will it be released?

Filming is wrapped as of mid-2019, so it’s likely to be a 2020 release.

Is there a trailer or teaser available?

Not yet! Stay tuned.


The Luminaries Movie / Series Development Timeline

September 5, 2013 The Luminaries (novel) is released.

October 15, 2013 The Luminaries wins the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

August 25, 2016 Working Title Productions and BBC plan a 6-episode limited series adaptation of The Luminaries.

September 26, 2018 Eva Green and Eve Henson are set to star in The BBC’s The Luminaries Production.

March 31, 2019 Filming for The Luminaries wraps on the West Coast of New Zealand.