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Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace has been adapted to film and television countless times, but the BBC, which already made a 20-part miniseries in the early 1970s, is ready to return to the story. The network is working on a new, six-part series based on the novel.
BBC One controller Danny Cohen and BBC Drama Commissioning controller Ben Stephenson ordered the series on Monday, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Andrew Davies, who just worked on Netflix’s House of Cards, has been hired to write the series. His other credits include The Three Musketeers (2011) and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
THR notes that Davies is expected to focus his series on the human relationships in the story, rather than the philosophical elements. It will still be set in 19th century Russia.
“A thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life,” Davies said in a statement, according to Deadline. “The characters are so natural and human and easy to identify with and Natasha Rostova just beats Lizzy Bennet as the most lovable heroine in literature.”
“War and Peace is truly epic in scale and builds on BBC One's commitment to bringing audiences drama of the highest quality and impact,” added Cohen.
As The Guardian notes, the BBC produced one of the most epic adaptations of the novel in 1972 with its 20-part series that starred Anthony Hopkins. Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda starred in the 1956 film version.
Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk made a seven-hour version in 1967 and 1968, winning an Oscar for his work.