Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel War and Peace is being adapted for a TV miniseries to be broadcast in the U.S. on the History Channel, A&E and Lifetime in 2016. This sweeping epic saga, considered to be one the greatest and most influential literary works of all time, has, of course, previously been adapted to both film and TV several times over the years. The most famous big screen version premiered in 1956 and starred Hollywood icons Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
Set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s stormy relations with Russia, including his catastrophic 1812 invasion, the story follows five aristocratic Russian families. The lengthy novel, first published in 1869, explores the French invasion and how the Napoleonic era affected Tsarist society. This new adaptation will dispense with many elements of the novel in order to focus mainly on human interaction, family conflict and romance.
The cast features Paul Dano (12 Years a Slave; Prisoners) along with Downton Abbey’s Lily James, Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) and James Norton, best known for the movie Rush and the TV miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley.
The three sibling networks are teaming up with the Weinstein Co. and the BBC to bring this six-part series to American viewers.
This is one of several high-profile projects that the A+E Networks have on tap for the near future. Limited series Damien, a follow-up to classic horror movie The Omen, will be broadcast on A&E next year, along with a remake of the miniseries Roots.