HBO, BBC, France 2 Beta load 'Guns'

'Guns of August' a 4x90 minute historical miniseries

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CANNES -- HBO and the BBC have trained their sites on "The Guns of August," getting behind a 4x90 minute historical miniseries based on the Pulitzer-prize winning book by Barbara Tuchman about the first months of World War I.

Germany's Beta Film and France 2 are also on board the series, which Frank Doelger ("Into The Storm") will produce through his Brit-based Rainmark Films shingle. Beta will handle world sales rights outside of France, Britain and the U.S.

Originally published in 1962, "The Guns of August" was an instant best-seller. It also helped shape world events. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, then U.S. President John F. Kennedy commanded his cabinet and all his key advisers read it for its lessons on how military escalation can rapidly spiral out of control.

The miniseries is currently in development with shooting expected to begin in 2011-12 for delivery in 2013-14. No talent is attached yet.