As Hanya Yanagihara’s cult novel A Little Life heads to West End, FEMAIL reveals the handsome stars

The VERY hunky cast of A Little Life: As Hanya Yanagihara’s cult novel heads to the West End, FEMAIL reveals the stars – including a James Bond contender, It’s A Sin actor and Bridgerton brother

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara has become a cult hit among readers 
  • Novel shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2015 and went on to become huge success
  • Play adaptation of the book will play for 12 weeks at the Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Cast includes It’s A Sin actor  Omari Douglas and Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson
  • Meanwhile James Norton will also have a starring role in the production  

Hanya Yanagihara’s cult novel A Little Life is set to head to the West End, with a star-studded cast featuring a possible James Bond contender and Bridgerton actor. 

The book, which was published in 2015 and shortlisted for the Booker Prize,  became a word-of-mouth hit and won the author a following of dedicated fans.

The novel, which is 814 pages long, follows four classmates from a small US college who move to New York and their relationships with one another, as well as complex issues including sexual abuse, disability and addiction.

It became a critically acclaimed bestseller, with celebrity fans including Dua Lipa who said the book ‘changed her life’ on her podcast. 

Hanya Yanagihara's cult novel A Little Life is set to head to the West End, with a star-studded cast featuring James Norton

Hanya Yanagihara’s cult novel A Little Life is set to head to the West End, with a star-studded cast featuring James Norton 

Other members of the cast include Omari Douglas, whose performance in It's A Sin wowed critics

Bridgerton's Luke Thompson

Other members of the cast include Omari Douglas, whose performance in It’s A Sin wowed critics (left) and Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson (right) 

The stage adaptation has a star-studded cast, including James Norton, It’s A Sin actor Omari Douglas and Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson.

It is rounded off with The Witcher’s Zach Wyatt.

The play, which was first performed in Holland to critical acclaim, will be performed for 12 weeks at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London from 25 March. 

Here FEMAIL reveals the cast members who will take on the roles in the series…

JAMES NORTON 

James Norton, 37, who is set to take on the lead role of Jude, has been one of the bookies main picks to play James Bond for years.

Born in London to teacher parents, James grew up in North Yorkshire where he was severely bullied at school.

He previously revealed he was so badly bullied at school that he’s having therapy 20 years later.

The actor admitted ‘it’s only now’ that he’s ‘recognising the effect’ of his troubled past and ‘what it’s done to him’.

Childhood: 'I had quite a grim time,' he told the Daily Mail's Eden Confidential. 'It's only now, in my later life as an adult, that I'm recognising that effect and what it has done to me'

Childhood: ‘I had quite a grim time,’ he told the Daily Mail’s Eden Confidential. ‘It’s only now, in my later life as an adult, that I’m recognising that effect and what it has done to me’

‘I had quite a grim time,’ he told the Daily Mail’s Eden Confidential. ‘It’s only now, in my later life as an adult, that I’m recognising that effect and what it has done to me.’

After leaving school, he began  studying theology at University of Cambridge.

What is Type 1 Diabetes? 

Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood to become too high.

It happens when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose.

You need daily injections of insulin to keep your blood glucose levels under control.

Managing type 1 diabetes can take time to get used to, but you can still do all the things you enjoy. This guide is here to help.

Type 1 diabetes is not linked with age or being overweight – these things are linked with type 2 diabetes.

Source: NHS

 

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It was there he began starring in theatre productions, landing his first film role opposite Carey Mulligan in 2009 in An Education.

From there, he appeared in a number of small film and TV roles, including Doctor Who, before landing his break-out part in Happy Valley.

Norton was acclaimed for his role as Tommy Lee Royce, the villain of the hit crime, which was quickly renewed for a second season.

He later appeared as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in the BBC miniseries of Andrew Davies’ production of War & Peace.

In 2019, Norton portrayed John Brooke in Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women.   

The War & Peace star has been long reported to be Daniel’s successor following his outing as the spy in No Time To Die, with bookmaker Ladbrokes even temporarily suspending betting on the character. 

Amid frenzied speculation about who will be the next to play Bond, with stars including Richard Madden and Idris Elba being linked with the role, a source previously told The Sun in July that both sides were trying ‘to get a deal signed off’.

They said: ‘Producers wanted a Brit and James ticks all the boxes – tall, strapping, physically fit and, of course, looks great in a dinner jacket.

‘Everyone is hoping to get the deal confirmed and signed off, with an announcement in the summer.’

Five years later: Imogen and James met when they starred alongside each other in Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse during the summer of 2017

Five years later: Imogen and James met when they starred alongside each other in Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse during the summer of 2017

James proposed to actress Imogen Poots, 32, after four years of dating, with the couple 'over the moon' as they prepare to wed (Pictured in December)

James proposed to actress Imogen Poots, 32, after four years of dating, with the couple ‘over the moon’ as they prepare to wed (Pictured in December)

Meanwhile he got engaged to his long term girlfriend Imogen Poots in February,  after four years of dating, with the couple ‘over the moon’ as they prepare to wed.

The pair confirmed their romance in December 2017, after appearing alongside each other in the West End production of Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse that summer.

An insider told Eden Confidential’s Stephanie Takyi of their happy news: ‘They’re over the moon about their engagement and have only told close friends and family. 

‘Imogen was totally surprised and is looking forward to being Mrs Norton.’

James is no stranger to a steamy scene, having previously portrayed sex scenes in dramas like Rogue Agent

James is no stranger to a steamy scene, having previously portrayed sex scenes in dramas like Rogue Agent 

James and Imogen initially had a long distance relationship (between New York and London), which she previously opened up on during an interview with The Evening Standard.

She said: ‘It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never known something to fall apart because of distance.’

‘Sharing a bathroom, however, is quite another matter,’ she added.

But in 2020, Imogen – who starred in The Father with Anthony Hopkins – moved into James’s London pad in Peckham, and the couple are often seen cycling around the district. 

Meanwhile he has also previously spoken about having Type 1 diabetes, previously calling his condition like having 'a really annoying' friend

Meanwhile he has also previously spoken about having Type 1 diabetes, previously calling his condition like having ‘a really annoying’ friend  

He has also previously spoken about having Type 1 diabetes.

Alongside a shirtless picture of himself on the beach in Kent in which he showed off his Dexcom device the Grantchester star wrote that the condition was like having a ‘really annoying friend.’

He penned in the caption: ‘November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so this is a proud shoutout from a chilly beach in Kent, to all my fellow type 1 warriors out there. Being a type 1 diabetic is like having a really annoying friend.’

He went on: ‘It requires constant care and attention as well as patience and fortitude, but occasionally can be a strange sort of support, and even a power…

‘It helps you to be more empathetic. It encourages you to look after yourself and your health, as well as other people around you.’

LUKE THOMPSON

Luke Thompson, who is best known for his role in the Netflix hit show Bridgerton, is to play Willem, an aspiring actor

Luke Thompson, who is best known for his role in the Netflix hit show Bridgerton, is to play Willem, an aspiring actor

Luke Thompson, who is best known for his role in the Netflix hit show Bridgerton, is to play Willem, an aspiring actor. 

He was born in England but brought up in France from the age of two.

Upon returning to England in 2006, Thompson spent a year with the Year Out Drama Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He went on to study Drama at Bristol, before training at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Art. 

His first professional role came when he appeared on stage as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre.

He went on to appear in a number of other Shakespeare plays on stage, before his first screen role saw him playing Simon in the BBC One drama In the Club.

Luke, who studied Drama at Bristol, appeared in Dunkirk before landing his big break in Netflix's Bridgerton

Luke, who studied Drama at Bristol, appeared in Dunkirk before landing his big break in Netflix’s Bridgerton 

Like his co-star James, he is no stranger to a sex scene, and his character Benedict is often filmed romping in the steamy drama

Like his co-star James, he is no stranger to a sex scene, and his character Benedict is often filmed romping in the steamy drama 

He starred in blockbuster Dunkirk before he was cast in Netflix hit Bridgerton.  

Based on a series of books of the same name by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton follows the eight siblings of the Bridgerton family as they attempt to find love in Regency-era England.

It has been a huge success since it was launched on Netflix in December 2020, making stars of the cast including Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor.

The series is famed for it’s steamy sex scenes, of which Luke has had a few.

He previously confessed the cast were only allowed to read scripts for two scenes before agreeing to join the Netflix period drama. 

Based on a series of books of the same name by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton follows the eight siblings of the Bridgerton family as they attempt to find love in Regency-era England

Based on a series of books of the same name by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton follows the eight siblings of the Bridgerton family as they attempt to find love in Regency-era England

He revealed the segment in question was an exchange between his character Benedict and sister Eloise, who is played by Claudia Jessie.

He told MailOnline that despite only being given a sneak peek of the show’s plotline and the role his character would play in it, he certainly didn’t get cold feet.

He said: ‘Because you only get like a scene or a couple of scenes… that’s all you get, well that’s all I got to start with anyway, you get such a strong flavour and the two they gave me were the swing scenes in season one.

Bursting into a fit of laughter, the SAG nominee added: ‘You always have to clarify what that is.

‘It was just a couple of pages but I thought, ‘Oh wow, there’s such a strong, clear conversation between a brother and sister that feels like it’s absolutely in the regency world but is also absolutely believable today.’

‘And so it was a no brainer. You could almost read just that and think, ‘Yeah, I wanna do that.”

OMARI DOUGLAS

Rising star Omari Douglas, who is best known for his role in Channel 4's It's A Sin, is to portray painter JB in the West End play

Rising star Omari Douglas, who is best known for his role in Channel 4's It's A Sin, is to portray painter JB in the West End play

Rising star Omari Douglas, who is best known for his role in Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, is to portray painter JB in the West End play (left and right)  

Rising star Omari Douglas is to portray painter JB in the West End play. 

He burst onto TV screens across the country last year as he starred in Russel T Davies’ hit show It’s A Sin.

He was born and brought up an only child in Wolverhampton by his mother whilst his father lived in the United States.

He attended acting school before beginning a career in theatre, starring in Wise Children and Jesus Christ Superstar.

His first, and only, big screen role has been It’s A Sin, for which he won critical acclaim.

Since then, he has starred in Constellations opposite Russell Tovey, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance.

He was cast as Cliff in the West End revival of Cabaret later in 2021.

His first, and only, big screen role has been It's A Sin, for which he won critical acclaim (pictured with Stephen Fry in the drama)

His first, and only, big screen role has been It’s A Sin, for which he won critical acclaim (pictured with Stephen Fry in the drama) 

Omari was at one stage reportedly the front runner to replace Jodie Whittaker in her iconic role as Doctor Who

Omari was at one stage reportedly the front runner to replace Jodie Whittaker in her iconic role as Doctor Who

Despite his lack of TV appearances, he was at one stage reportedly the front runner to replace Jodie Whittaker in her iconic role as Doctor Who.

An insider told The Sun: ‘Omari is the perfect candidate on so many levels, including the fact that the BBC said they’d prefer the Doctor to be played by a non-white actor.’

Omari got to know Doctor Who’s returning showrunner Russell T Davies while they worked alongside one another on his Aids crisis drama It’s A Sin last year.

The source explained: ‘He has also struck up the kind of close working relationship with Russell that helped Christopher [Ecclestone] and David [Tennant] get the sought after role.

‘And although he’s not quite a household name yet, he’s proved he’s a great actor with a memorable performance in It’s a Sin.’ 

Since then, he has starred in Constellations opposite Russell Tovey, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance

Since then, he has starred in Constellations opposite Russell Tovey, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance

The role ultimately ended up going to Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa, however Omari has plenty of other big roles coming up.

It’s A Sin creator Russell previously revealed how the second series of the show would follow his character Roscoe through the present day.

Speaking at a BAFTA Sessions event, executive producer Nicola Shindler said Roscoe and Jill, played by Lydia West, would become campaigners trying to stop young people from being manipulated online. 

She said: ‘There were a lot of stories about young boys being manipulated online and it was something Russell was really concerned about.

He thought, what if you cut to the present day and Jill and Roscoe are out there to stop people from doing this.

‘There are so many vulnerable people that need looking after or need some kind of attention shining on them.’

He just wanted to pick it up in the present day and say there are still so many people out there who need protecting. That was the point of it.’

ZACH WYATT

The final member of the cast is perhaps the least well known - Zach Wyatt, who is set to play Malcolm in the drama

The final member of the cast is perhaps the least well known – Zach Wyatt, who is set to play Malcolm in the drama

Little is known about Zach, whose most high profile role to date was in the TV show The Witcher: Blood Origin.

Little is known about Zach, whose most high profile role to date was in the TV show The Witcher: Blood Origin.

The final member of the cast is perhaps the least well known – Zach Wyatt, who is set to play Malcolm in the drama. 

Little is known about Zach, who attended Tring Park School for Performing Arts before graduating in 2015.

He has since appeared in a handful of TV programmes for just a few episodes. 

He appeared in an episode of Urban Myths  as Jimmy Hendrix, and as Dr Phil Parhatka in a number of episodes of Karen Pirie.

His biggest break before appearing on the West End was in The Witcher: Blood Origin.

Sharing the news of his casting on Instagram last night, Zach wrote: ‘I feel so very grateful to be working on Hanya’s beautiful story with the likes of such company and direction.’

Meanwhile Hanya commented on the post: ‘Thank you so much for being a part of this, Zach; I’m so honored you’re in it.’ 

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