THE TELEGRAPH – When it was last on television, it took an epic 20 episodes to tell the sprawling story of love, family and Napoleonic war in Tolstoy’s Russia.
The BBC’s latest version, more than four decades on, has enlisted Lily James, Andrew Davies and a cast of hundreds to convince a new generation that War and Peace is for them in just six hours.
The BBC aims to broadcast the “definitive” War and Peace for the 21st century, executives said, as they unveil the first-look images from their far-from-cosy new period drama.
It will aim to encapsulate Tolstoy’s magnum opus in a six-part adaption that will showcase the “humour, energy, light and love” of the original story, while syphoning off the philosophical musings.
First announced in the Telegraph two years ago, prospective fans can now get their first glimpse of the drama with new images of Natasha Rostova, played by Lily James, Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov and James Norton as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.
Executives hope the adaptation, by “master” of the genre Andrew Davies, will convince a new generation that War and Peace is not a daunting, dry book to be consigned to history, but full of the modern-day dilemmas affecting teenagers through time.Continue Reading
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a mammoth novel—so it’s no surprise to learn that its TV adaptation is too large for a single network to handle. The epic miniseries will air across three separate channels at once: Lifetime, A&E, and History. The three networks will employ a similar strategy for their recently announced Roots remake.
Produced by BBC and the Weinstein Company, and starring Lily James as Natasha Rostova and Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov, the six-part adaptation of the classic Russian novel has been described as “one of the most ambitious” BBC projects ever. Set in early 19th-century Russia, the epic covers the stories of five aristocratic families from the reign of Alexander I to the French invasion of Russia in 1812.
Penned by writer Andrew Davies, whose previous credits include Sense & Sensibility, Brideshead Revisited, and Bridget Jones’s Diary, the series also stars Gillian Anderson, James Norton, and Jim Broadbent.
War and Peace is expected to premiere later this year.
#Filming has begun on our landmark adaptation of #WarandPeace. The cast includes #PaulDano, #LilyJames, #JamesNorton, #JimBroadbent, #GillianAnderson, #AneurinBarnard and #TomBurke. Filming began here #onlocation in front of the #HermitageMuseum in #StPetersburg and continues in #Russia, #Lithuania and #Latvia. We’ll continue to bring you pictures from the set right here on #Instagram. #bbcone #BTS #OBD #originalbritishdrama
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace for the BBC and The Weinstein Co. will star Paul Dano (12 Years A Slave, Prisoners, There Will Be Blood), Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) and James Norton (Happy Valley, Belle).
The casting announcement for the miniseries was announced on Sunday. It will consist of six one-hour episodes and will be directed by Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders, Woman In Black: Angel Of Death).
Dano will star as Pierre Bezukhov, James as Natasha Rostova and Norton as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Also part of the cast are Stephen Rea (An Honorable Woman) as Prince Vassily Kuragin, Ade Edmondson (Prey, Blood), Greta Scacchi (The Falling) as Count and Countess Rostov, Jack Lowden (The Tunnel) as Nikolai Rostov, Tom Burke (The Musketeers, The Hour) as Dolokhov and Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge) as Sonya.
Said James who is starring in Cinderella, which will be in theaters in 2015: “I am very excited and privileged to be playing Natasha, in this co-production between BBC and The Weinstein Company, of Tolstoy’s classic War And Peace. It is amazing to be part of such a prestigious cast and to appear in such a beautiful and rich adaptation by Andrew Davies.”
War and Peace is made by BBC Cymru Wales Drama in partnership with The Weinstein Company and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point. Filming will begin in January in Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman and executive producer for The Weinstein Co., said: “I fell in love with Tolstoy’s War and Peace as a teenager when I read it for the first time. Putting an epic, iconic story like War and Peace on screen with a cast of this caliber is an incredible thrill. Lily, Paul, and James are all amazingly talented actors, and it takes their level of talent to capture the scale of Tolstoy’s words. We are excited to get underway with Andrew Davies and the phenomenal team at BBC.”
Said Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One: “War and Peace will be a major event drama on BBC One and it is only fitting that Tolstoy’s epic masterpiece has attracted such a fine cast of actors to Andrew Davies’ stunning scripts.”
Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, added: “The impressive array of talent assembled for this drama production is testament to the ambition and scale of this iconic story that we will bring to life for a new generation.”
RADIO TIMES – Cast your mind back to July and – if you’re a hardcore Downton Abbey fan – you may remember rumours abounding that Lily James was set to star in BBC1’s new six-part adaptation of War and Peace.
Well, they’re true. “Yes, I’m doing War and Peace,” the actress confirmed to RadioTimes.com at the Downton Abbey series five launch event.
Adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 epic, the six-part series – penned by Pride and Prejudice and House of Cards screenwriter Andrew Davies – is a co-production with The Weinstein Company and will air on BBC1 in 2015.
Set in 1805 against the backdrop of Alexander I’s reign, the epic novel follows five aristocratic families and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano has been rumoured to star alongside James in the role of Pierre Bezukhov – Natasha’s love interest.
James’s star has been firmly on the rise ever since she joined Downton Abbey during the series three Christmas special. Besides her role on the ITV drama, she’s currently filming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and will next be seen playing the lead in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella when it comes to cinemas next March – a project which saw her reunite with Sophie McShera who plays the Crawleys’ kitchen maid Daisy.
“I can’t wait for you to see her in it,” said James. “She looks phenomenal, she’s got the best costumes ever – make up, lashes, hair, ornaments, jewellery – it’s the opposite of Daisy and she’s just amazing in it. People are going to go wild.”
DEADLINE – The six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic War And Peace is beginning to cast up. I hear that Downton Abbey’s Lily James and Prisoners’ Paul Dano have offers for lead roles and are seriously circling. The mini hails from BBC Worldwide, The Weinstein Co and Ripper Street‘s Look Out Point. Described as one of the most ambitious event series ever made for the BBC, it will be produced by BBC Cymru Wales and scripted by Andrew Davies. James would play Natasha Rostova, one of the novel’s central characters who ultimately falls in love with Pierre Bezukhov, the awkward illegitimate son who rises in society but leads a tumultuous life as he seeks to overcome his emotions. Dano would play Pierre. In King Vidor’s 1956 feature adaptation, the roles were played by Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
The notoriously expansive novel begins in 1805 Russia and centers on five aristocratic families set against the backdrop of the reign of Alexander I, the lingering effects of his grandmother Catherine The Great’s rule and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. Executive producers on the mini are BBC Cymru Wales drama chief Faith Penhale, BBC Wales’ George Ormond, Davies, Look Out Point’s Simon Vaughn and Harvey Weinstein.
The miniseries is due for air in the UK in 2015 and was a first sign of The Weinstein Co’s ambitions to forge into the European TV arena when it was announced last October. The company subsequently teamed with the BBC and Look Out on upcoming TV movie Stan And Ollie which is being scripted by Philomena’s Jeff Pope. TWC also acquired U.S. TV and VOD rights for the first three seasons of BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders.
James, who plays Lady Rose on Downton, will next be seen in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella. She is repped by Tavistock Wood Management in the UK and by UTA. Dano, who was in Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave last year, is playing Brian Wilson in Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy which is screening in Toronto, and stars in Oscar-winner Paolo Sorrentino’s next film, The Early Years. He’s repped by WME.