The Luminaries BBC cast: Who plays Crosbie Wells? Meet the Australian star

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New BBC series The Luminaries transports viewers to New Zealand in the 1800s when the Gold Rush was sweeping the country. One man who plays a very prominent role is Crosbie Wells (played by Ewen Leslie) as his mysterious death becomes the centre of the show. Here’s everything viewers need to know about the character with some exclusive details from the actor himself.

Who plays Crosbie Wells in The Luminaries?

Viewers first meet Crosbie Wells in The Luminaries after his dead body is discovered in suspicious circumstances.

Only through characters’ conversations and a series of flashbacks are viewers introduced to the man himself.

The intriguing entrance and mystery about the character have left many fans wondering who exactly he is, as well as wanting to know more about the actor who plays him. recently spoke to the star behind the role Ewen Leslie about the character and how he is different from other parts he has played.


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Describing Crosbie in the show, Leslie revealed a bit about the character’s backstory for those unfamiliar with the original novel.

He explained: “Crosbie Wells is someone who never knew his father. He was born in a brothel and he was raised by the many women who work there.

“It means that he’s been brought up with a great respect for women but it also means that he’s you know, he’s never really felt a great sense of family.”

This is what sends him on his journey to New Zealand where he believes his father is.

But when he is there, Crosbie finds himself with a bit of luck as he wins his wife Lydia Wells (Eva Green) in a bet and strikes gold in the burgeoning Gold Rush in the country.

Leslie added: “He’s an interesting character because he’s not the lead by any means but the entire plot revolves around him, I suppose.“

As viewers will know, in the first episode, Crosbie is revealed to have been mysteriously killed in the opening scenes.

For Leslie, this was what made him so fun to play in the BBC adaptation of Cattan’s novel.

He added: “He’s a tragic character he doesn’t realise that he’s a tragic character.


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“I mean he’s someone that’s sitting at the centre of this plot, and there are all these machinations happening around him, that he has no idea about.

“He’s someone who is very honest and is very open, who wears his heart on his sleeve.

“And his downfall is that he expects other people to be the same as him.”

In the rest of the series, viewers should expect to slowly find out what happened to him as his story is unravelled in a number of flashbacks.

Aside from The Luminaries, Australian actor Leslie is best known for his performances as Pyke in Top of the Lake and Alistair in The Cry.

Some of the other roles viewers might recognise the star from include The Gloaming, Fighting Season and Safe Harbour.

Next, viewers will also be able to see him in mini-series Operation Buffalo as Leo Carmichael and he will be voicing Pigling Bland in Peter Rabbit 2.


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However, Leslie also revealed how this show is quite different from anything else he has done in the past in terms of scale.

The adaptation filmed in New Zealand had vast sets, period costumes and beautiful locations, which the actor revealed was quite thrilling.

He added: “I mean I haven’t been in something that size and all the stuff I’ve been in tends to be, for lack of words, sort of high-end melodrama.

“Where there’s lots of two people in high-stakes scenes and small rooms together.

“And all of a sudden I was walking down a street with hundreds of extras and horses going behind me!”

The Luminaries continues tonight (June 22) on BBC One at 9pm.

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