BBC, Weinsteins Complete Casting on Andrew Davies’ Adaptation of ‘War and Peace’

LONDON — The BBC and the Weinstein Company have completed casting on Andrew Davies’ TV adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “War and Peace,” which will star Paul Dano (“12 Years a Slave,” “There Will Be Blood”), Lily James (“Cinderella,” “Downton Abbey”) and James Norton (“Belle,” “Grantchester”).

Dano will play Pierre Bezukhov, James is Natasha Rostova and Norton is Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. These three are described by Davies as “Pierre, the bumbling, chaotic idealist; Prince Andrei, whose cool Darcy-like exterior conceals huge emotional conflict; and Natasha Rostova, possibly the most appealing heroine in literature.”

Also in the cast are Stephen Rea (“The Shadow Line”) as Prince Vassily Kuragin, Ade Edmondson (“Blood”) and Greta Scacchi (“Brideshead Revisited”) as Count and Countess Rostov; as well as Jack Lowden (“The Tunnel”) as Nikolai Rostov, Tom Burke (“The Musketeers,” “The Hour”) as Dolokhov and Aisling Loftus (“Mr. Selfridge”) as Sonya.

Tom Harper (“Woman in Black: Angel of Death”) will direct the miniseries, which will be told over six one-hour episodes.

“War and Peace” is made by BBC Cymru Wales Drama, in partnership with the Weinstein Company, BBC Worldwide and Lookout Point. Filming will begin in January in Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.

The series will be exec produced by BBC Wales head of drama Faith Penhale (“A Poet in New York,” “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock”) and Bethan Jones (“Sherlock,” “The Passing Bells,” “Atlantis”) for BBC Cymru Wales; Davies; Harvey Weinstein and Robert Walak for the Weinstein Company’ and Simon Vaughan for Lookout Point. The producer is Julia Stannard.

Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, said: “I fell in love with Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ as a teenager when I read it for the first time. Putting an epic, iconic story like ‘War and Peace’ on screen with a cast of this caliber is an incredible thrill. Lily, Paul and James are all amazingly talented actors, and it takes their level of talent to capture the scale of Tolstoy’s words.”

Davies, who won Emmys for “Little Dorrit” and the original version of “House of Cards,” said: “When I came to ‘War and Peace’ for the first time, rather late in life, I was struck by how fresh and modern the characters and relationships felt. It’s a story of the hopes and dreams of youth, set against the titanic background of the Napoleonic wars.” Pierre, Andrei and Natasha “are surrounded by a gallery of unforgettable characters — we get love, friendship, huge swings of fortune, betrayals, tragedy, and a surprising amount of comedy too.”

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