Dominic West & David Oyelowo To Star In BBC Adaptation Of ‘Les Misérables’
Dominic West (‘The Affair’, ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Appropriate’, ‘Adult’) and David Oyelowo (‘Selma’, ‘Gringo’, ‘Spooks’) will lead the cast in a BBC “event series” adaptation of ‘Les Misérables’ it has been announced. Before you burst into “Can you hear the people sing…”, in this version, no, you can’t. This is a six-part drama adaptation of Victor Hugo’s original 19th-century classic novel, not a version of the musical.
West will star as former convict Jean Valjean, whilst Oyelowo will take on the role of Javert, the police inspector hellbent on returning him behind bars. Lily Collins (‘Rules Don’t Apply’, ‘Tolkien’, ‘Love’, ‘Rosie’), takes on the iconic role of Fantine.
“Jean Valjean is one of the great characters in world literature,” comments West. “His epic journey of redemption is one of the extraordinary roles an actor can take on, and I can’t wait to get stuck into bringing Andrew’s brilliant adaptation to the screen.”
The rest of the cast is a veritable whos who of British talent – Adeel Akhtar (‘The Night Manager’, ‘Murdered By My Father’, ‘Utopia’) and Olivia Colman (‘Murder On The Orient Express’,’The Night Manager’, ‘Broadchurch’) play Monsieur and Madame Thénardier. Ellie Bamber (‘Nocturnal Animals’, ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’, ‘The Nutcracker And The Four Realms’) stars as Cosette. Josh O’Connor (‘The Durrells’, ‘God’s Own Country’, ‘Ripper Street’) will play Marius, and Erin Kellyman (‘Raised By Wolves’, ‘Uncle’, ‘The Coopers Vs The Rest’) takes the role of Éponine.
The adaptation comes from Andrew Davies, whose work you will have seen on ‘House of Cards’, ‘Mr Selfridge’, ‘Bleak House’ and most recently, the BBC adaptation of ‘War & Peace’. “This is such an intense and gut-wrenching story and I am delighted that this esteemed ensemble of actors will be bringing it to life – led by Dominic West and David Oyelowo in the iconic roles of Jean Valjean and his nemesis Javert,” said Davies. “In Valjean, we see the terrifying anger and resentment against society but also the tenderness that is hidden deep in his complex psyche. And in Javert, the ferocious dedication to duty that takes him from obsession to madness.”
The multi award-winning screenwriter will go back to the original novel and delve deep into the many layers of Hugo’s story, revelling in Jean Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest. With a striking intensity and relevance to us today, the novel is a testimony to the struggles of France’s underclass and how far they must go to survive.
Filming on ‘Les Misérables’ will begin in February 2018 in Belgium and Northern France. No news on an air date yet, but I would not expect to see it before late 2018 or 2019.