The BBC has released the first images of the new TV adaptation of Les Miserables, which will air here in the United States on Masterpiece, revealing Lily Collins as Fantine, David Oyelowo as Javert, and Dominic West as Jean Valjean.
Lots of aggressive smoldering happening here:
Perhaps your immediate response is: “Again?” Yes, again. But this one is based on the novel, not the musical—an important distinction, according to Andrew Davies, who is writing it. He explained in 2016 why 19th century French literature’s greatest doorstopper novel merits another adaptation, a mere five years after the star-studded musical adaptation was nominated for a slew of Oscars at the Hay Festival (via the Guardian):
His version of Hugo’s epic novel will a straight adaptation. “Nobody sings. Well they might sing the odd song but they don’t yell great things like they do in the musical.”
Davies was asked whether it was too close to the Tom Hooper-directed movie in 2012, an adaptation of the Boublil and Schonberg musical. “It’s quite a few years and I have a dreadful memory of the musical and for people who think that’s all there is, I thought it’s important that people realise there is a lot more to Les Misérables than that sort of shoddy farrago. The book needs a bit of a champion.”
Nerd! Fight! Nerd! Fight!
It is pretty priceless, though, that Lily Collins looks like an orphan from a Jane Austen adaptation, since Andrew Davies made the famous many-VHS ITV Pride and Prejudice and will next tackle the author’s unfinished fragment Sandition. I know a fellow member of the can’t-escape-the-clutches-of-Jane club when I see one.