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December 03, 2014 at 09:26 PM EST

Syfy and Universal Cable Productions announced that they have cast Jason Ralph and Sosie Bacon in the television adaptation of Lev Grossman’s book series, The Magicians. 

The series, produced by Universal Cable Productions, follows 20-something students studying magic in New York, and find that the magical fantasy lands they read about as children are both very real and very dangerous. Ralph will play Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant yet withdrawn young man who feels alienated by his peers, including a hopeless crush on the beautiful Julia (Stella Maeve). Quentin envelops himself in the world of a children’s book series set in the magical land of Fillory, and is recruited as a new student at the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, where he realizes that magic is real and finds that he is very gifted at it.

Bacon will portray Alice, a shy but lovely woman who attends Brakebills, and is regarded as an outcast among her peers despite her brilliance as a practitioner of magic. John McNamara will write the script and Michael London has signed on to produce.

Production for the pilot began Dec. 2 in New Orleans.

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