Matt Smith to helm and star in new TV adaptation of Nick Cave novel

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Matt Smith has signed on to star as the title character in a television adaptation of Nick Cave’s 2009 novel The Death of Bunny Munro.

The House of the Dragon and The Crown actor will also executive produce the six-part series, which has been written by Somewhere Boy screenwriter Pete Jackson.

The Death of Bunny Munro is a dark comic novel about a sex-addicted door-to-door beauty product salesman whose life is upended by his wife Libby’s suicide. He sets out on a road-trip across Southern England with his 9-year-old son Bunny Junior in tow, and the pair go to unconventional lengths to come to terms with their grief.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Cave said: “Finally, someone with the courage to take on this unholy tale. I am thrilled that Sky and Clerkenwell Films are bringing Bunny to life, in all his flawed glory, and I can think of nobody better than Matt Smith to play him.”

In another statement, Smith called Cave’s novel “a brilliant exploration of love, grief, and chaos. At its heart a deep, difficult, and tender story about a father and son, coping with loss and change.”

Nick Cave attending the coronation of King Charles III in May 2023 (AP)
Nick Cave attending the coronation of King Charles III in May 2023 (AP)

The series is being produced by Clerkenwell Films (The End of the F***ing World, Misfits) in association with Sky Studios. Isabella Eklöf (Industry, Holiday) is attached to direct.

Petra Fried, managing director of Clerkenwell Films, called the series “a timely tale about masculinity, dark and twisted but also full of humor and humanity. Pete’s scripts brilliantly capture Nick’s creation, and we can’t wait to see Matt bring this singular anti-hero to life.”

The series is set to begin filming next Spring.

Cave recently warned against removing everything that might be deemed “unrighteous” in art, as he responded to claims that his 1996 album Murder Ballads includes lyrics that are violent towards women.

Speaking on The Louis Theroux Podcast, Cave said: “Some of my early lyrics with The Birthday Party [band], the Murder Ballads record, this kind of thing, there was violence towards women, but there was actually violence towards everybody.”

On the subject of the ongoing debate surrounding censorship in art, Cave added: “This troubling of the waters, that is the self-evident value of art and that if we’re to put art through a kind of righteous sieve and take all the unrighteous bits out, what we get is just the bland and the morally obvious.”