Dominic West, David Oyelowo and Lily Collins are to star in a new BBC adaptation of Les Miserables.
The six-part TV drama, which will be penned by Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace screenwriter Andrew Davies, will also star The Night Manager’s Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar, as well as Ellie Bamber and Bafta Rising Star nominee Josh O’Connor.
West will play Jean Valjean, while Oyelowo will play Javert and Collins will take on the role of Fantine, the part that bagged Anne Hathaway an Oscar in the 2012 big screen version.
West and Oyelowo will also serve as executive producers on the series, which will be adapted from Victor Hugo’s original novel.
West, best known for his roles in The Wire and The Affair, said: “Jean Valjean is one of the great characters in world literature.
“His epic journey of redemption is one of the extraordinary roles an actor can take on, and I can’t wait to get stuck in to bringing Andrew’s brilliant adaptation to the screen.”
Oyelowo added: “To play an iconic role like Javert is any actor’s dream, but to play it as written by Andrew Davies goes beyond my wildest dreams.”
The series is expected to explore the cat-and-mouse relationship between convict Jean Valjean and police inspector Javert, against the backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest.
Collins will play the tragic part of Fantine, an orphan who becomes pregnant but abandoned by her baby’s father, forcing her to turn to prostitution and to sell her hair.
Collins said: “I’m so thrilled to be playing Fantine. She is a legendary character whose tragic story feels as relevant to tell today as when Les Miserables was first published.
“Andrew’s wonderful dramatisation opens up the character in fresh ways that I’ve never seen before in previous adaptations. And with this amazing cast coming together it really feels like it could be something very special indeed.”
Davies added: “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.
“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.”
Filming will begin in February in Belgium and northern France.
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