BBC One announces cast for epic new event drama War and Peace

I'm thrilled to be entrusted with Andrei in this exciting adaptation. It's a privilege to bring to life one of Tolstoy's wonderfully rich and conflicted characters. James Norton, actor
Date: 28.12.2014     Last updated: 28.05.2015 at 14.25
Andrew Davies' adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's literary masterpiece will star Paul Dano (12 Years A Slave, Prisoners, There Will Be Blood), Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) and James Norton (Happy Valley, Belle, Grantchester), it is announced today.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time, War and Peace will be told over six one hour episodes. Director Tom Harper (The Scouting Book For Boys, Peaky Blinders, Woman In Black: Angel Of Death) will bring this classic to life for a modern audience on a truly epic scale in what Davies calls "a thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life".

Paul Dano will star as Pierre Bezukhov, Lily James as Natasha Rostova and James Norton as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Also heading up the rich cast of characters are Stephen Rea (An Honourable Woman, The Shadow Line) as Prince Vassily Kuragin, Ade Edmondson (Prey, Blood) and Greta Scacchi (The Falling, Brideshead Revisited) as Count and Countess Rostov; as well as Jack Lowden (The Passing Bells, The Tunnel) as Nikolai Rostov, Tom Burke (The Musketeers, The Hour) as Dolokhov and Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, Good Cop) as Sonya.

James Norton says: “I'm thrilled to be entrusted with Andrei in this exciting adaptation. It's a privilege to bring to life one of Tolstoy's wonderfully rich and conflicted characters. And to get to work alongside talents such as Tom Harper, Andrew Davies, Lily James and Paul Dano is very exciting – I can't wait to get started.”

Lily James says: “I am very excited and privileged to be playing Natasha, in this co-production between BBC and The Weinstein Company, of Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace. It is amazing to be part of such a prestigious cast and to appear in such a beautiful and rich adaptation by Andrew Davies.”

War and Peace is made by BBC Cymru Wales Drama, in partnership with The Weinstein Company and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point. Filming will begin in January 2015 in Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One, says: “War and Peace will be a major event drama on BBC One and it is only fitting that Tolstoy’s epic masterpiece has attracted such a fine cast of actors to Andrew Davies’ stunning scripts.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning says: "The impressive array of talent assembled for this drama production is testament to the ambition and scale of this iconic story that we will bring to life for a new generation."

Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman and Executive Producer for The Weinstein Company says: “I fell in love with Tolstoy’s War and Peace as a teenager when I read it for the first time. Putting an epic, iconic story like War and Peace on screen with a cast of this calibre is an incredible thrill. Lily, Paul, and James are all amazingly talented actors and it takes their level of talent to capture the scale of Tolstoy’s words. We are excited to get underway with Andrew Davies and the phenomenal team at BBC.”

Andrew Davies says: "When I came to War and Peace for the first time, rather late in life, I was struck by how fresh and modern the characters and relationships felt. It's a story of the hopes and dreams of youth, set against the titanic background of the Napoleonic wars. Three characters at the centre: Pierre, the bumbling, chaotic idealist; Prince Andrei, whose cool Darcy-like exterior conceals huge emotional conflict; and Natasha Rostova, possibly the most appealing heroine in literature. These three are surrounded by a gallery of unforgettable characters - we get love, friendship, huge swings of fortune, betrayals, tragedy, and a surprising amount of comedy too. "

The series will be Executive Produced by BBC Wales Head of Drama Faith Penhale (A Poet In New York, Doctor Who, Sherlock) and Bethan Jones (Sherlock, The Passing Bells, Atlantis) for BBC Cymru Wales, Andrew Davies (A Poet In New York, Mr Selfridge, Bleak House, Pride And Prejudice, House Of Cards), Harvey Weinstein (The Imitation Game, Paddington, Silver Linings Playbook) and RobertWalak (Woman In Gold, Shame, Calvary) for The Weinstein Company and Simon Vaughan (Parade's End, Ripper Street) for Lookout Point. The Producer is Julia Stannard (The Great Train Robbery, United, The Awakening).

SA2