Best selling YA novel 'Artemis Fowl' takes flight on Disney+

Popular young adult novel 'Artemis Fowl' comes to life on Disney+ with Kenneth Branagh directing and casting a first time actor for the title role.
GLENDALE -- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, "Artemis Fowl" was set to open in theatres. But now, it's having its premiere on Disney+ instead. It's about a very smart 12 year old boy who becomes a criminal mastermind.

"Artemis Fowl" comes from a series of popular fantasy novels aimed at young readers. This family-friendly story involves our lead, Artemis Fowl the second, trying to figure out how to rescue his missing father. He protects secrets that keep mankind safe from a dangerous, hidden world. Now it's up to the kid to help save the day.

To play the lead, director Kenneth Branagh chose Ferdia Shaw, a boy who had no acting credits whatsoever.

"We took a long time, nine months, lots of tests, physical tests, verbal tests, accent tests. We saw 1,200 kids," said Branagh. "We saw kids from all over the world and Ferdia maintained his sense of humor throughout. He knew the books backwards. He loved it. So we had a genuine enthusiast."

The director said not only was Shaw enthusiastic, but also brought a level of confidence that was appealing and compelling.

"I loved making it because it was such a big part of my life," said Shaw. "I got to meet so many cool people."

And soon... he will meet something called "fame." Shaw doesn't think the newfound attention will change him.

"I'm pretty happy just living a normal life. Obviously, there's going to be a big release and hopefully we're just going to try and keep ourselves grounded and stay with the normal routine," said Shaw.

Also in on the action, "Frozen's" Josh Gad, who plays an overgrown dwarf named Mulch. He's happy to be in another film for families.

"It feels good being the father of two kids knowing that during these really difficult, trying times there's a momentary, even two hours of escapism, that I can share with them and hopefully bring them a smile," said Gad.

"Artemis Fowl" debuts on Disney+ on Friday, June 12th.
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