Is 'Far From the Madding Crowd' Based On A Book? Carey Mulligan's Latest Film Has Literary Roots

Carey Mulligan is the queen at period films. The British actor took on Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey in 2007, she was in an episode of Doctor Who, she played a naive schoolgirl in the 1960s set An Education, and took on iconic Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, she's portraying the heroine of Far From the Madding Crowd , the victorian tale of love and heartbreak. The story follows Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) who attracts three enticing, but very different, suitors. One's a farmer, another a Sergeant, and one is a wealthy and mature bachelor. She must choose between love, duty, and these three men. So is the tale, which seems ripe for literature, based off a novel?

Absolutely. Thomas Hardy, not to be confused with Mad Max's Tom Hardy, was a prolific writer in the late 1800's. He penned Far From the Madding Crowd in 1874, his fourth novel but first major literary success. Before Madding Crowd, he wrote three novels: Desperate Remedies, Under the Greenwood Tree, and A Pair of Blue Eyes. The term "cliffhanger" allegedly originated from the Blue Eyes, a novel that was inspired by Hardy's courtship of his first wife.

But Madding Crowd is one of Hardy's better known work, and this is not the first film adaptation that has tried to tackle the classic. The first film iteration came in 1915, just 14 years after Hardy had re-released the classic novel for the second time. In 1967, John Schlesinger took a stab at the drama with Julie Christie in the starring role. There was a 1998 version, and in 2013 a stage version of the story was filmed. David Ehrilich of Time Out says of 2015's film versoion: "Carey Mulligan's commanding performance is an easy beacon to follow: her Bathsheba is caught between the vulnerability of youth and the strength of knowing her own value."

With Mulligan leading the all star cast, she is joined by Matthias Schoenaerts, playing Gabriel the sheep farmer, Tom Sturridge as the handsome Sergeant Frank, and Michael Sheen as William, as the older bachelor.

Fingers crossed this iteration, which has already garnered positive reviews, will hopefully be one of the more memorable versions of Tom Hardy's beloved novels.

See Far From the Madding Crowd in theaters Friday, May 1. Watch the trailer below:

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Images: BBC Films