October 9, 2013
War and Peace TV adaptation coming to the UK
by Nick Davies
Set your DVRs, or rather, start clearing them out entirely, because you’ll need lots of room for the latest project announced by the Weinstein Company: a six-part TV adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace. Nancy Tartaglione writes for Deadline that Harvey Weinstein and friends are teaming up with BBC Worldwide and production company Look Out Point to bring the massive book to the small screen.
The screenplay for the series will be written by Andrew Davies (no relation), who’s no stranger to adapting historical works of literature. He’s already written television scripts for Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Brideshead Revisited, among others. The planned series has been described as “one of the most ambitious” taken on by the BBC; Weinstein said of the project:
Needless to say, adapting War And Peace is a tremendous but exciting task. There’s no one I’d rather be partnering with than Lookout Point’s Simon Vaughan and the BBC’s Ben Stephenson and Faith Penhale on this production, whose incredible visions are second to none in bringing classic literature to the screen in the most sophisticated way possible.
You have plenty of time to make sure your recording devices are prepared for what’s sure to be an epic series. The War and Peace adaptation won’t hit the airwaves in the UK until 2015, and there are no announced plans for it to air here in the US. Until then, our time is best spent coming up with official casting suggestions:
- Daniel Radcliffe as Pierre Bezukhov. It might seem like an odd choice for Radcliffe to take on the role that Henry Fonda played as a 51-year-old, but Pierre is meant to be a young man who’s just finished his education at the start of the book; and as lengthy as it is, War and Peace only spans eight years. Radcliffe has experience playing a Russian writer, thanks to the recent adaptation of A Country Doctor’s Notebook. And if he’s worried about being typecast as anything, it’s probably something else on his résumé.
- Tatiana Maslany as Natasha Rostov. She is Canadian, but already on a hit BBC show, Orphan Black, in which she does about eleventy accents, so Russian (or just British/fancy) will pose no problem.
- Tom Hiddleston as Anatole Kuragin. Hiddleston makes a great villain, and has the unctuous Kuragin charm down.
- Michelle Dockery as Helene Kuragin. As Downton Abbey fans can attest, Dockery can deliver imperious self-centeredness effortlessly. She’s a natural to play the manipulative Helene.
- Rowan Atkinson as Napoleon. Just because he was at his best on Black Adder, and I’d love for him to do another historical role. And I want to hear him do a silly French accent.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.