Deadline understands that the BBC Studios-backed producer, which is run by former Endemol Shine chief Tim Hincks and ex-ITV content boss Peter Fincham, is in the early stages of developing the project.
Hughes is best known for the 2012 HBO/BBC movie The Girl, which starred Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren and explored Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with the actress. She also recently adapted William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair into a seven-part Olivia Cooke-fronted series for ITV and Amazon, and is currently working on two-part drama Honour starring Keeley Hawes for ITV.
Anna Karenina, first published in 1878, is a complex story with dozens of major characters. It tells the story of the eponymous lead, who has an affair with a dashing cavalry officer that scandalizes Saint Petersburg social circles. The pair initially flee to Italy before returning to Russia, where their lives further unravel. It was initially released in installments in monthly journal The Russian Messenger.
The story has been adapted numerous times, with its most notable recent remake being the Joe Wright-directed, Keira Knightley-fronted Working Title production in 2012. Knightley starred as Karenina alongside Jude Law as her husband, Count Alexeir Alexandrovich Karenin, in the Tom Stoppard-scripted feature. Elsewhere, Channel 4 and PBS remade it in 2000 with David Blair directing stars including Helen McCrory, Stephen Dillane and Mark Strong in the four-part, Company Pictures-produced series.
It is the latest scripted project for Expectation, which is currently producing the David Schwimmer comedy Intelligence for Sky and drama Guilt, starring Catastrophe’s Mark Bonnar, for the BBC. The company’s drama division is run by creative director Kirstie Macdonald, who joined Expectation from World Productions, where she worked on series including BBC’s Line of Duty and Sky’s Save Me.