Disney announced today initial casting for the live-action adaptation of Artemis Fowl, which will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Branagh and Judy Hofflund.

According to Disney, the search for an actor to play Artemis Fowl was extensive, with casting director Lucy Bevan seeing over  1200 candidates for the part. Branagh chose Irish newcomer Ferdia Shaw, who will make his onscreen debut in the title role. Descended from a long line of criminal masterminds, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.

Josh Gad (“Beauty and the Beast”) has signed on for the role of Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniacal dwarf who works for the fairies—and himself.

Academy Award winner Judi Dench (“Spaceship Earth”) takes on the role of Commander Root, the steely leader of the fairy police force (LEPrecon).

Lara McDonnell  (“Love, Rosie,”) has been cast in the role of Captain Holly Short, the elf hero.

Nonso Anozie (“Cinderella,”) will play Butler, Artemis Fowl’s formidable bodyguard.

Based on the bestselling book series by Eoin Colfer and with a screenplay by award-winning playwright Conor McPherson, Artemis Fowl is slated for release in U.S. theaters on August 9, 2019. Production will begin early next year in the U.K.