Michael Sheen returns to narrate Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth audiobook

30 Jul 2019 -

“The worlds and characters that Philip Pullman has created matter; they mean a lot to me and to other people as well.”– Michael Sheen


Penguin Random House Audio are delighted to announce that award-winning Welsh actor Michael Sheen (Passengers, Frost/Nixon, The Twilight Saga, Good Omens) is to narrate the UK and US audiobook edition of Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two.

Sheen, a self-confessed Pullman fan, narrated the first volume in The Book of Dust sequence, La Belle Sauvage, in 2017 and returns to lend his voice to The Secret Commonwealth. The second volume sees heroine Lyra Silvertongue, now an independent young woman, forced to navigate a complex and dangerous new world as she ventures far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search of an elusive town said to be haunted by dæmons.

Michael Sheen comments:

“There’s something wonderful about being so immersed in a world that I love so much: that’s the great privilege of narrating this audiobook. The worlds and characters that Philip Pullman has created matter; they mean a lot to me and to other people as well, and I hope that Philip’s happy with my interpretation of the characters, their dynamics and relationships.”

“I’ve become so invested in Lyra through the His Dark Materials series and into this new one. In The Secret Commonwealth I found myself so moved by what she goes through and what she’s struggling with.”

Philip Pullman comments:

“I am thrilled that Michael Sheen will be returning to read the audiobook of The Secret Commonwealth. Michael was phenomenal in his reading of the characters in La Belle Sauvage, even leading to an award win last year. I have no doubt that listeners will continue to be moved and entertained by his exhilarating performance.”

Richard Lennon, Publishing Director, Penguin Random House Audio, adds: “Michael Sheen’s performance of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage was truly phenomenal and has won him numerous awards, including Audiobook of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2018. You can hear Michael’s passion for Philip Pullman’s work in every syllable and it is a privilege to be working with him again for The Secret Commonwealth. I can’t wait for fans to be able to hear this unforgettable production.”

In addition to the Penguin Random House Audio audiobooks for The Book of Dust sequence, audio adaptations of Pullman’s His Dark Materials have a multi-voice dramatisation for BBC Radio 4, starring Terence Stamp as Lord Asriel and Lulu Popplewell as Lyra, and an audiobook narrated by the author himself for Audible.

The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two will be published simultaneously – in audiobook, hardback and ebook formats – on Thursday 3rd October 2019, by David Fickling Books in association with Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK.

Michael Sheen is a multi-award-winning stage and screen actor who has starred in three films nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award: The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard, and Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen.

He is known to millions as a vampire in The Twilight Saga films and a werewolf in the Underworld franchise. His other feature credits include The Damned United, directed by Tom Hooper; Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland; Tron: Legacy, and the critically acclaimed adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel, Far From the Madding Crowd, directed by Thomas Vinterberg; Sony’s Passengers in which he starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt and Home Again with Reese Witherspoon. Michael can currently be seen in the Netflix feature film, Apostle, as well as Slaughterhouse Rulez with Simon Pegg. He recently completed filming opposite Robert Downey Jr in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle.

On television, Sheen has earned multiple awards and nominations for his performances in projects such as Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, directed by Andy De Emmony, Dirty Filthy Love, directed by Adrian Shergold, as Tony Blair in HBO’s The Special Relationship and as Dr. Bill Masters in four seasons of the acclaimed Showtime series, Masters of Sex, on which he was also a producer. He has created memorable characterizations for NBC’s 30 Rock, HBO’s mockumentary 7 Days In Hell, the IFC miniseries spoof Spoils of Babylon, and Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special for Netflix. He will next appear in Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens for Amazon and BBC alongside David Tennant and can also be seen in The Good Fight for CBS. Michael has also recently been cast as a lead role Fox’s Prodigal Son.

Widely recognised as an equally effective activist, through his role as UNICEF Ambassador, Patron of Social Enterprise UK, President of the Wales Centre for Voluntary Action and many other roles, Michael is now branching out to start his own social movements. In March last year he launched the ‘End High Cost Credit Alliance’, aimed at tackling the unfair targeting of high cost credit to those who can least afford it. Additionally, this July Michael will be bringing the Homeless World Cup to Cardiff, working to create a legacy which has a real impact on people’s lives long after the final whistle is blown. More than 500 players representing over 50 countries will travel to Cardiff to attend the week-long festival of football, in what is to become one of the most inspiring Homeless World Cup tournaments yet.