An all-star cast has been announced for BBC One’s upcoming Black Narcissus mini-series.
Based on English author Rumer Godden’s 1939 literary novel, an iconic tale of sexual repression and forbidden love, the three-part adaptation began filming last month in Jomsom, Nepal and at Pinewood Studios, England.
BAFTA award-winning writer Amanda Coe is returning the haunting love story to its original setting in the 1930s, as the western colonial order is about to explode into the crisis of the Second World War.
Coe previously adapted Bloomsbury Group drama Life in Squares for BBC Two in 2015.
British actress Gemma Arterton (Their Finest) will lead the cast of Black Narcissus as Sister Clodagh.
She’ll be joined by Diana Rigg (Victoria) as Mother Dorothea, Jim Broadbent (War and Peace) as Father Roberts, Gina McKee (Bodyguard) as Sister Adela and Rosie Cavaliero (Gentleman Jack) as Sister Briony.
The cast also includes Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle) as Mr Dean, Aisling Franciosi (I K,now This Much Is True) as Sister Ruth, Patsy Ferran (Jamestown) as Sister Blanche, Karen Bryson (Safe) as Sister Philippa, and newcomer Dipika Kunwar as Kanchi.
The official synopsis reads: “Black Narcissus follows Sister Clodagh (Arterton) and the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.
“In the unfettered sensuality of the so-called House of Women, Sister Clodagh finds herself increasingly attracted to the handsome and damaged land agent, Mr Dean (Nivola). But as the repressed memories of Clodagh’s past become entangled with the tragic history of Princess Srimati, history seems doomed to repeat itself.
“Are there really ghosts here in the Himalayas, or are the nuns just succumbing to long-repressed primal desires? And which of them is prepared to die – or kill – for love?”
Screenwriter Amanda Coe previously commented: “It’s a truly extraordinary love story, as well as a brilliantly unsettling piece of 20th century Gothic about the power of a place to get under your skin and the dangers of refusing to learn from history.”
Black Narcissus will air on BBC One in the UK and on FX in the US in 2020.
Rumer Godden’s novel Black Narcissus is available on Amazon.