It was just a matter of time before Lauren Beukesbest-selling novel of 2013 The shiny girls was taken and adapted for a visual format. It has the perfect combination of intense thriller and time-shifted metaphysical concepts that other novels love. The Time Traveler’s Wife and Foreign have proven themselves to audiences during the transition to television screens.
It is therefore not surprising that the TV rights of the shiny girls were secured a long time ago (before the novel was even officially released!) by MRC Television and Leonardo DiCapriofrom production company Appian Way Productions. And now we’re approaching the long-awaited opportunity to see what they’ve done with the book like the TV series. shiny girls arrives on Apple TV+ on Friday, April 29.
In her novel, Beukes created a metaphysical world where a man travels through time to find and murder the “shining girls” (i.e. strong, bright women who shine with their potential). He does this successfully until one victim, Kirby Mazrachi, emerges alive from his brutal assault – but not without suffering trauma and disjointed memories from the assault.
In the TV show adaptation, we meet Kirby as an archivist at a Chicago-based newspaper in the 90s, six years after his assault. She is still very affected by the assault and continues to have trouble telling the difference between reality and fantasy. She has lost many of her memories and much of her mind, having to detail the facts of her life in a diary to ensure she can keep track of what is real and what is not. .
One day, she comes across a murder report that bears similarities to the assault she survived. She teams up with veteran reporter Dan Velazquez to investigate, and they uncover a series of murders that all appear to be linked to the same killer. Kirby finds himself wrestling with his mind and his memories to uncover the truth and identify the killer and his attacker.
shiny girls is a stunning watch that does a good job of translating the heart-pounding intensity of the novel to the screen and keeps you hooked on Kirby’s investigation with every twist. It’s a show that transports viewers in more ways than one – let’s meet the ensemble cast and the characters that will take you on the journey.
Elisabeth Moss as Kirby Mazrachi
Our main protagonist is Kirby Mazrachi, played by Elizabeth Moss in the show.
Kirby was an aspiring journalist but postponed her ambitions after suffering a violent and traumatic assault. We meet her in the 90s as a newspaper archivist at the Chicago Sun-Times when she learns of a recent murder that bears many similar hallmarks to her own assault. As Kirby deepens and becomes more immersed in the case, she struggles with her trauma-affected memory and doesn’t know which events are reality and which are a figment of her imagination.
Reality and time seem to continually change in Kirby’s perception and things are not always what they seem. the shiny girls The trailer reinforces this by giving us a look at how Kirby reinvents herself in different timelines, from her early interactions with Harper as a young girl to herself as an adult in various settings.
Moss brings his trademark intensity and acting chops to the role (think The Handmaid’s Tale and The invisible Man) and gives us a well-developed character to cheer on as he searches for the killer. Through Moss’ empathetic and emotive portrayal, we get to see Kirby’s state of mind of confusion and fuzzy memories – and we get a sense of what trauma can do to a person’s mind. .
Moss wore several different hats during the production of Brilliant girls. She starred, served as an executive producer on the series through Love & Squalor Pictures, and also took on directing direction for two of the eight episodes.
Wagner Moura as Dan Velazquez
Dan Velazquez, played by Wagner Mourais a veteran Chicago Sun-Times reporter who connects with Kirby to investigate the case and uncover the truth about the murders.
Kirby finds a strong and reliable ally in Dan as he aids her in the investigation, but also gives her a safe space to discuss what happened to her and unpack the trauma she continues to endure. He seems to be the first person to really listen to her and not dismiss her reality-altering experiences and dim memories.
Dan brings his own trauma and history to the case and becomes deeply involved and invested in the case with Kirby. The trailer shows Dan being followed by the attacker and beaten in a nightclub scene. He seems to care about the case as much as Kirby and is the first to identify that the Cold Kills are somehow connected.
Moura is a famous Brazilian actor, director, filmmaker, musician and journalist. He is best known to American audiences for playing Pablo Escobar in Narcos and Narcos: Mexico and for his roles in Elite squad and Elite Squad 2.
In shiny girlsMoura is able to match Moss’ intensity and stands out as Kirby’s dependable supporting character and co-investigator on the show.
Jamie Bell as Harper Curtis
Now on to the mysterious villain of the series…
Jaime Bell plays the ubiquitous serial killer Harper Curtis. He seems to be everywhere at once and in many places at the same time. He plucks a wing from a fly with a young Kirby, but he’s also seemingly the same age when he watches Kirby as an adult.
In the trailer, he is often seen hiding in the shadows or watching from afar and stalking his victims with a menacing but nearly invisible presence. Kirby and Dan’s investigation begins to reveal more about why and how Harper kills the way he does and how he can seem to be in so many places and times at once.
Bell brings her versatility and brooding intensity perfectly to the role of Harper Curtis and helps add the necessary sense of darkness to the character.
You might recognize Bell in a very different role in his youth when he played Billy Elliot. He comes from a family of dancers and was therefore well placed for the highly praised performance of Billy Elliot, even winning a BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and becoming one of the youngest recipients of the award.
Since his Billy Elliot days, Bell has consistently starred in television and film in a wide variety of roles, including in movies like The Fantastic Four, Jumperand Rocketman, voicing Tintin in The Adventures of Tintin, and in television series TOUR: Washington’s Spies.
Phillipa Soo as Jin-Sook
During the investigation, Kirby identifies another potential modern-day Harper victim and connects with her to discuss her experiences.
This other victim is Jin-Sook, a strong and intelligent woman who is a researcher at the Adler Planetarium. Jin-Sook realizes that she and Kirby are bonded by their attacker, though Jin-Sook has ever been attacked. The trailer shows a series of occasions where Harper stalks her and is mysteriously in her apartment behind her. It looks like she might be his next victim – unless they can find him first.
Jin-Sook is played by the talented Philip Soo. Soo is best known for originating the role of Eliza Hamilton in the Broadway musical hamilton, with her performance earned her a nomination for a Tony for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. She has since appeared in other Broadway and off-Broadway productions and has played or voiced characters in Dope, The biteand above the moon.
Amy Brenneman as Rachel
The final main character in this ensemble cast is Rachel, played by Amy Brenneman. Rachel is Kirby’s rebellious single mother and a local rock singer with whom Kirby continues to live. Rachel is seen in the trailer meeting Harper through timelines, suggesting that she is also aware of Harper’s dark presence watching Kirby over time.
Brenneman brings significant television acting experience to the production. She is best known for co-creating and starring in the long-running television series Judging Amy, for which she received five Emmy nominations. Brenneman has had a steady television and film career, appearing in films Heat, Fearand Day light, and TV shows such as Private practice, Tell me your secrets, and Leftovers.
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