'War and Peace' Mini With All-Star Cast Set to Air on History, Lifetime, A&E

Gillian Anderson, James Norton, Paul Dano, Lily James and Jim Broadbent will star in the limited series, which hails from the Weinstein Co. and BBC.
AP Images

Fresh off of their Roots announcement, Lifetime, A&E and History are prepping to take on another classic.

The sibling networks are teaming with The Weinstein Co. and BBC for a limited series based on Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The limited series will be simulcast in the U.S. in 2016 and feature an all-star cast including Paul Dano (12 Years a Slave), Lily James (Downton Abbey), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), James Norton (Rush) and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!).

The novel, which was first published in 1869 and is widely regarded as one of the most influential pieces of literature, explores the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as told through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families.

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The limited series hails from The Weinstein Co., BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point.

The news of A+E Networks' plans to broadcast the new War and Peace comes more than two years after the BBC first announced plans for the six-part adaptation, which is being written by Andrew Davies (House of Cards), back in February 2013. The drama was expected to air this year on the BBC. Many elements of the lengthy novel are expected to be omitted from the adaptation, as the series will focus on human interactions, romance and family conflict.

Read more BBC Orders Adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'

War and Peace has been adapted multiple times. On the TV side, the BBC took on the title in an early 1970s production starring Anthony Hopkins, and the novel was also the basis for an Italian miniseries completed in 2007.

The news of the new adaptation comes at a time when high-profile limited series have become a new way for broadcast and cable networks to draw live viewers in an increasingly competitive scripted DVR landscape.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit