- Andrew Garfield and Cynthia Erivo lead the cast in the Audible Original adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.
- The novel is set in a dystopian Britain, ruled by Big Brother, where propaganda, mass surveillance, and repressive politics dominate society.
- The audio adaptation features an original score performed by a 60-piece orchestra and promises a faithful yet expanded portrayal of the romantic relationship between Winston and Julia.
George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 (Nineteen Eighty-Four) is being brought to life once again as an Audible Original adaptation, with The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield and Wicked’s Cynthia Erivo set to lead the production as Winston Smith and Julia, respectively. Set for release later this year, the stacked cast also includes Fleabag and Sherlock star Andrew Scott as O’Brien and Inception and Venom actor Tom Hardy as the tyrannical symbol that is Big Brother.
First published in 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in a dystopian Great Britain which has now become a totalitarian superstate led by Big Brother, a dictatorial leader supported by an intense cult of personality that has seemingly infected most of society due to the overwhelming use of propaganda, mass surveillance, and repressive politics.
The novel follows Winston Smith, who rebels against the system in whatever way he can, committing “thought-crime” and falling in love with a fellow revolutionary, Julia. The pair strive to avoid being detected by the Thought Police, The Party, and anyone else they come across for fear of being taken to the dreaded Ministry of Love.
Directed by Destiny Ekaragha (The End of the F***ing World), the rest of the cast includes Romesh Ranganathan, Natasia Demetriou, Chukwudi Iwuji, Francesca Mills, Katie Leung, and Alex Lawther. The audio adaptation will also feature “an original score written by Muse front-man Matthew Bellamy and composer Ilan Eshkeri, which will be performed by a 60-piece orchestra at Abbey Road studio,” per THR.
Andrew Garfield Was Born to Play 1984’s Winston Smith
Aurelie de Troyer, head of regional Content, Europe at Audible, has teased a new take on the story, which has been described as “faithful” while “drawing in more of Winston and Julia’s romantic relationship.” She adds that Garfield was “born to play” lead character Winston.
“This is 1984 like you’ve never heard it before. We’ve assembled a top team of creatives across the board, and the combination of the principal cast and Matt and Ilan’s epic soundtrack is something quite extraordinary. Andrew Garfield was born to play Winston – just wait until you hear his performance.”
The audible adaptation of 1984 is due to be released globally on April 4, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the date that Winston first writes in his diary in the novel. This adaptation has been “authorized and endorsed” by The Orwell Estate.
Nineteen Eighty-Four has been adapted several times before, with the most recent being released last year and directed by Finnish filmmaker Diana Ringo. The most famous adaptation, however, was released in 1984 and directed by Michael Radford. Starring John Hurt as Winston and Richard Burton as O’Brien, this take received positive reviews and was nominated for a BAFTA.
A new live action retelling of the hugely influential tale has been in the works for some time, with Jason Bourne director Paul Greengrass being attached to the project back in 2012. In 2020, writer James Graham revealed that the project had been postponed, saying:
“Paul and I got very excited about it and then [we realized] it’s a difficult project. The book is just so bloody perfect, we started going: ‘Let’s just pause for a second.’ The world of surveillance and tech moves on so quickly, we just needed to have a broader view of it.”
A five-part 1984 series based on the stage play by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan is also reportedly in development. An Orwellian-themed thriller titled 2084 is also said to be in the works.