Having jointly conquered one literary classic with Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the Weinstein Co. and BBC are re-teaming for an event TV adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic Les Miserables. The six-point mini will be written by award-winning scribe Andrew Davies, who also adapted Tolstoy’s epic tale for TWC and the BBC. Davies will be working from Hugo’s novel, rather than the musical, to delve deep into the many layers of Jean Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest.
“Les Misérables is a huge iconic title,” said Davies. “Most of us are familiar with the musical version which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story. I am thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice to Victor Hugo at last by adapting his masterpiece in a six hour version for the BBC, with the same team who made War & Peace.”
“Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is one of the greatest novels of all time – and while the musical is one of my favorites this will be completely different,” added Harvey Weinstein. “An intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what’s going on in the world today. I’m thrilled to be reunited with Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan, my partners from War & Peace, with Charlotte Moore from the BBC, and of course, with Andrew Davies who wrote War & Peace. I think the BBC and Weinstein Television collaboration are a new paradigm in the telling of classics – they’re modern and yet respectful. And, with the exception of James Bond, nobody does it better than Andrew Davies.”
Brit production powerhouse Working Title enjoyed huge success with their 2012 big screen adaptation of the Les Mis musical, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. It grossed over $430 million worldwide and won three Academy Awards. The new version will be a direct adaptation of Hugo’s book, sans chansons.
This is a BBC Studios and Lookout Point co-production for BBC One in association with Weinstein Television.