Andrew Davies is working on a £10m adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables for drama co-production specialist Lookout Point, which is also planning to revive Lawrence of Arabia.
The veteran screenwriter - who was the creative powerhouse behind BBC adaptations of Bleak House and South Riding - has begun work on the ambitious 5 x 60-minute project that will aim to bring a modern twist on the French book.
It is in development with Lookout Point and BBC Worldwide, who are currently on the hunt for co-production partners to join the project.
Lookout Point’s chief executive Simon Vaughan admitted it is “early days”, but said they are hoping to secure a budget of around £2m for each episode and would ideally like to attach BBC1 to the drama.
The aim is apply a “modern visual pallet” to the original novel, Vaughan added, as well as capitalise on the anticipated popularity of Hollywood’s adaptation of the Les Misérables stage musical, starring Russell Crowe and Helena Bonham Carter.
“I think the film will be beneficial in raising awareness. They are very different propositions - ours is a wholehearted literary adaptation,” Vaughan said.
Lawrence of Arabia
Lookout Point is also planning to revisit the story of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, who inspired the iconic David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia.
The single drama will be written by Any Human Heart scribe William Boyd and co-produced by Tiger Aspect. The ambition is for it to be produced in Morocco, with a large chunk of financing coming from a French broadcaster.
Vaughan said: “Some might say taking on such iconic work is a dangerous undertaking, but there is clear water between our project and the now 50 year-old David Lean film.
“It’s a great opportunity to delve into an extraordinary human drama, but we won’t shy away from the epic set pieces the title promises.”
Ripper / Titanic
Tiger Aspect and Lookout Point are preparing to go into production on their other project next month - eight-part drama Ripper Street, set in Jack the Ripper-era London and starring Matthew Macfadyen.
Lookout Point is also behind ITV1’s epic retelling of the Titanic disaster, set to broadcast this year, and is involved in Mammoth Screen-led series Parade’s End, which was written by Tom Stoppard and will air on BBC2 and HBO.