Amazon and ITV have joined forces on the seven-part small-screen version of the book by William Makepeace Thackeray, which will be produced by Amazon Studios and Mammoth Screen. Mammoth, which produced “Victoria,” is owned by ITV Studios.
Cooke, the star of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” will play heroine Becky Sharp in the show, which is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and follows her attempts to make her way in English society.
Period drama was once considered the preserve of the BBC in the U.K., but commercial network ITV has had notable historical hits in recent years with “Downton Abbey” and “Victoria,” although the World War II-set “The Halcyon” fared less well and was canceled after one season. ITV also teamed with Hulu on “Harlots,” set in the world of the 18th-century London sex trade.
Polly Hill, who joined ITV from the BBC last year, commissioned “Vanity Fair,” which will launch on ITV next year and also be on Amazon Prime Video. “‘Vanity Fair’ feels like the perfect classic to adapt for ITV, and Gwyneth Hughes’ stunning scripts bring the novel to life in a way that will really connect with a modern audience,” Hill said. “The question was always who would be our perfect Becky Sharp, and that is undoubtedly Olivia Cooke.”
This is the latest in a long line of adaptations of the novel. The BBC first took it to TV back in the 1950s, returning to it again in the 1960s in a version that also went out on PBS in the U.S. The BBC again adapted it in the 1980s and 1990s. A 2004 movie version starring Reese Witherspoon was a box-office disappointment.
The new series will be produced by Julia Stannard (“War & Peace”) with James Strong (“Broadchurch”) directing. It will be filmed in London and Budapest and shooting starts in September. ITV Studios Global Entertainment will sell the series internationally.