Based on Victor Hugo’s iconic literary classic, the story centers on French convict Jean Valjean (West) and his struggles to escape his past while being hunted for years over a parole violation by Inspector Javert (Oyelowo), set against the backdrop of the uprising of 1832. Collins will star as Fantine.
The cast also includes Adeel Akhtar and Olivia Colman as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius, and Erin Kellyman as Éponine.
Oyelowo is a star of stage and screen who has worked extensively in his native Britain. He received critical acclaim for his role in Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film “Selma,” playing Martin Luther King Jr. He has also appeared in the films “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Help,” “Red Tails,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Queen of Katwe,” and “A United Kingdom.” He is repped by CAA, Inphenate, and the U.K.’s Hamilton Hodell Ltd.
West is best known to American audiences for his starring roles in Showtime’s “The Affair” and the hit HBO series “The Wire.” He will also appear in the upcoming film “Tomb Raider” and has appeared in films such as “Chicago,” “Punisher: War Zone,” and “300.” He is repped by WME and the U.K.’s Tavistock Wood Management.
Collins recently starred in the Amazon series “The Last Tycoon” as well as the films “Okja” and “Rules Don’t Apply.” She has also appeared in the films “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” and will star as Edith Bratt in the biopic “Tolkien.” She is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.
The six-part adaptation of “Les Misérables” will be written by Andrew Davies, who most recently turned “War & Peace” into a six-part series for BBC and A&E Networks. It will be a co-production by BBC Studios and Lookout Point for BBC and Masterpiece. It will be globally distributed outside the US by BBC Worldwide. Filming will begin in February 2018 in Belgium and Northern France.
Weinstein TV was originally set to co-produce the project and serve as distributor in the U.S. and China. However, they were dropped as a partner on the project due to allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein.
Davies, Faith Penhale for Lookout Point, Bethan Jones for BBC Studios, Mona Qureshi for BBC One, Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece, West, and Oyelowo will serve as executive producers. The six, one-hour episodes will be produced by Chris Carey and directed by Tom Shankland. The drama was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content.
“Les Misérables” has been the subject of numerous adaptations on film, television, and the stage since its original publication. Most recently, Universal Pictures released a film version based on the musical in 2012 starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. The film won three Academy Awards that year, including Best Supporting Actress for Hathaway.