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Hear Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell Bring Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES to Life

Hear Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell Bring Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES to Life

Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles is masterpiece of science fiction, Derek Jacobi is one of our all-time great actors, and Hayley Atwell is has quickly become one of our contemporary favorites. So the fact that they’re all coming together in the form of a radio drama is pretty excellent news.

While the characters that Jacobi and Atwell are playing in this aural adaptation of The Martian Chronicles were arguably written as American, I somehow don’t think fans are going to hugely object to Captain Wilder and Spender suddenly sounding impeccably English (please don’t let me down by being petty, Internet).

Hayley Atwell has already dipped her toes in the voice arena as she keeps Agent Peggy Carter alive in the Marvel animated shows, but Derek Jacobi isn’t known as much for pure voice-acting, which sometimes requires a different skill set than stage and screen performance. But listen below and I don’t think you’ll notice any issues: they work excellently together. So well, in fact, that I totally forgot Spender was originally male.

Ray Bradbury‘s The Martian Chronicles was never much about particular characters, anyway–a collection of thematic short stories inspired by both the colonization of America and the Cold War, it’s tough to adapt because there really are no primary human protagonists or antagonists. One could argue that science is the hero and time the villain, but, let’s just get to the point–the BBC audio drama appears to focus on the chapters “And the Moon Be Still as Bright” and “The Settlers.” Both stories were originally set in the far-off year of 2001, but that later got revised forward to 2032.

The official synopsis, via, implies as much, anyway:

When the first expedition to Mars mysteriously disappears, Earth sends a second to find out what happened. But the real mission is classified. And only Captain Wilder knows the truth. Spender, an anthropologist on Wilder’s crew, attempts to prevent the colonisation that she believes will eradicate the last of an ancient people living on Mars. But to what lengths will she go?

As the honourable but duty-bound Captain Wilder tracks the now rogue Spender into the Martian mountains, the future of this ancient planet is at stake. Meanwhile, Earth itself teeters on the brink of its own global catastrophe as the very survival of humanity hangs in the balance….

In the 1979 NBC/BBC miniseries, Rock Hudson played Wilder and Bernie Casey was Spencer. Jacobi and Atwell feel like a worthy follow-through, and possibly even a step up.

You can download the full spotify version at this page, which also links to a Leonard Nimoy-read version.

While specifics of the book may have dated, the themes have not, so I’m all for people playing around with the story points as long as they get the tone right. Properly done, it could play like the best grouping of Twilight Zone episodes you’ve never seen. So can we get Atwell and Jacobi to do a live-action remake too?

I’d watch, multiple times. Would you? Let me know in comments below.

Image: NBC/BBC



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