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The drama series based on Tolstoy’s epic will consist of six hourlong episodes and eight 44-minute episodes for international markets and is scheduled to air on BBC One in 2015. Andrew Davies (House of Cards, Bridget Jones’s Diary) will pen the script.
The deal with The Weinstein Co. was structured under the BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point co-venture and overseen by Danny Cohen, director of Television for the BBC.
Cohen said: “War and Peace is major event drama for the BBC, written by Andrew Davies and made by BBC Productions. It’s fantastic to be partnering with The Weinstein Company on this exciting project.”
Lookout Point’s Simon Vaughan said: “With BBC and Harvey on board, we are making a serious statement of intent and expect to attract the talent and in turn the audiences that truly befit Tolstoy’s work. Making War and Peace is no small undertaking, and this partnership has the experience needed to tackle a work of this significance.”
Helen Jackson, chief content officer for BBC Worldwide, said: “War and Peace is exactly the kind of distinctive, high-quality drama that BBC Worldwide through its co-venture with Lookout Point seeks to bring to the world, bringing together top talent and ambitious production partners to create stand-out content that audiences the world over will delight in.”
The story will remain based in war-torn 19th century Russia. Many philosophical elements of the long novel are expected to be left out, with the series focusing on the human interactions, romance and family conflicts.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co., said: “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.”
The series will be executive produced by Penhale, head of drama BBC Cymru Wales (Sherlock, Doctor Who) and George Ormond (Great Expectations) for BBC Wales; Davies; Vaughan (Parade’s End, Ripper Street) for Lookout Point; and Weinstein (Silver Linings Playbook) for The Weinstein Co.
The BBC aired a War and Peace series starring Anthony Hopkins from 1972-74.
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