Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios have added another key member to the cast of The Goldfinch adaptation, with Jeffrey Wright coming aboard to portray Hobie. The Oscar-nominated actor joins a growing cast that includes Ansel Elgort as Theo, Willa Fitzgerald as Kitsey Barbour and Aneurin Barnard as Boris. The adaptation is expected to go into production shortly, so there may be several more casting announcements coming in the near future.
The original novel by Donna Tartt, which won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 2014, centers on Theo Decker, who, at the age of 13, miraculously survives a terrorist that kills his mother. This leads to Theo being taken in by the family of a wealthy friend, after being abandoned by his father. Theo still clings to the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small painting entitled The Goldfinch, that entices him into the underworld of the art scene. The story follows Theo into adulthood where he gets into a series of misadventures including his reunion with his deadbeat father in Las Vegas and his time as an art forger.
In the novel, Hobie was the partner of Welton “Welty” Blackwell, the man who 13-year-old Toby sees in the rubble of the terrorist attack. Welty gives young Toby a ring and an enigmatic message before dying, which leads to Toby leaving the rubble with The Goldfinch, since he believed the old man was pointing at that particular painting. Hobie would eventually provide a stable life, and is also the legal guardian of Pippa, the girl who Theo fell instantly in love with at the museum, just moments before the explosion that killed Theo’s mother. Willa Fitzgerald’s Kitsey is the younger sister of the wealthy school friend Theo lived with after the explosion, while Aneurin Barnard’s Boris becomes Theo’s friend as an adult in Las Vegas.
Warner Bros. picked up The Goldfinch in 2014, after the sprawling 784-page novel was originally being planned for a mini-series adaptation. Writer Peter Straughan came aboard to write the screenplay adaptation in November 2014, with director John Crowley (Brooklyn) boarding the project in July 2016. Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios came to an agreement to co-finance the film, with Warner Bros. providing theatrical distribution and Amazon landing the streaming and home entertainment rights, in exchange for putting up one-third of the budget, estimated to be in the $40 million range. Production is being eyed to begin in early this year, but no specific production start date has been given, nor has a release date.
Jeffrey Wright most recently starred on the hit first season of HBO’s Westworld playing Bernard, and he also has a number of films in various stages of development. Among them are The Public with Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Alec Baldwin and star/director Emilio Estevez, Monster with Jennifer Ehle, Jennifer Hudson and John David Washington, Hold the Dark with Riley Keough, Alexander Skarsgard and James Badge Dale and Friday’s Child with Tye Sheridan, Imogen Poots and Caleb Landry Jones. Variety broke the casting news earlier today.