Andrew Davies' 'Les Miserables' Adaptation To Follow 'War And Peace' Success
When the BBC's War and Peace miniseries wrapped up with its sixth episode on February 8, writer Andrew Davies' Les Misérables adaptation was already in the works. Davies says his version will come straight from Victor Hugo's 1862 novel, not the 1980 musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, on which the 2012 Hollywood film was based. That means Davies' Les Misérables will feature absolutely no singing. Sorry, Russell Crowe.
Hugo readers who haven't seen his War and Peace might worry that Davies doesn't have the chops to pull off Les Misérables. The book is, after all, one of those great works of literature that divide readers into those who have or have not read it, or those who do or do not love it. But fear not, Les Mis fans; Davies has more than enough talent to bring Hugo's work to the BBC. If you loved Pride and Prejudice (1995), Bridget Jones' Diary (2001), Bleak House (2005), or the original House of Cards, you're sure to enjoy Les Misérables when it hits the small screen.
Davies has a kind of Oprah Effect on the books he chooses to adapt. His War and Peace miniseries caused sales of Leo Tolstoy's iconic novel to skyrocket, just as his 1994 adaptation of Middlemarch did for George Eliot's work. Whether this trait of Davies' work will extend to Les Misérables remains to be seen, but it seems likely to do so.
There's no word yet on when we'll get to see Davies' Les Misérables adaptation, but the 79-year-old writer has managed to rally Hollywood support. The writer's War and Peace compatriot, producer Harvey Weinstein, is attached to the project. The two are gearing up for talks with the BBC, but Davies seems confident in choosing Les Mis:
It’s an immensely powerful story about appalling levels of poverty and deprivation and how people transcend it, it’s about redemption and revenge and the extraordinary relationship between Jean Valjean and a little girl he brings up.
And if the BBC doesn't want it? Well, that's just a whole lot of their problem, Davies says: "Harvey Weinstein said we could do this with or without the BBC. ... They would be silly not to go for it but they might think it’s been done too many times."
Image: Universal Pictures; Giphy