French pay-TV powerhouse Canal Plus and Fox’s Europe and Africa arm are joining forces on a series adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic novel “The War of the Worlds.” The show will follow the classic alien-invasion story but set the action in the present day. The eight-part drama will start shooting this fall, with Studiocanal and Urban Myth Films on production duty.
The new adaptation was created and written by Howard Overman (“Merlin”). “In many ways, H.G. Wells’ novel is a cautionary tale of racial superiority and ethnic conflict,” he said. “It is these themes that I wanted to explore more fully in my modern re-imagining. I look forward to bringing our bold, fresh and relatable version, inspired by this much-loved story, to a new audience.’’
Canal Plus will run the show in France and French-speaking territories and Fox Networks Group across its extensive footprint in Europe and Africa. Studiocanal is selling the series internationally, and FNG has some second-window rights in its territories.
It is the first time FNG and Canal Plus have pacted for an original drama. For FNG Europe and Africa, it marks a second foray into original drama after “Deep State,” the Mark Strong and Joe Dempsie espionage thriller, which has been renewed for a second season and plays on Epix in the U.S.
The new show will be executive produced by Overman, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps for Urban Myth Films.
The production sets up dueling “War of the Worlds” projects. British pubcaster the BBC has a three-part adaptation in the works with Rafe Spall and Robert Carlyle. It has a period English setting, unlike the Fox-Canal Plus project announced Friday.
(Pictured: illustration from a 1906 print copy of “The War of the Worlds”)