Casting Call: War and Peace

Published October 24, 2013

In which we suggest who would star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

Remember War and Peace, that little Russian novel by Tolstoy that we definitely read all 1,500 pages of when it was assigned in high school? The Weinstein Company is adapting it into a six-part miniseries for the BBC. Before you groan and roll your eyes, first note that Andrew Davies, who is responsible for the incredibly un-boring House of Cards, is writing it. Plus, if you were too busy playing hooky and smooching under the bleachers (or if you went to single-sex school and were doing none of those things), now is your chance to uncover its mysteries in a mere six hours. After all, it is probably regarded as one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written for a reason.

Set in 19th-century Russia, War and Peace chronicles the lives of five aristocratic families and their experiences surrounding the French invasion of Russia in 1812. It is the seventh-longest novel ever writtenever, in the history of mankind—so reading it is really quite an accomplishment. The novel features epic battles, illegitimate children, unrequited love, financial ruin, and attempted suicide, among other exciting plot twists. There are also large sections of Tolstoy’s philosophical musings, which, thankfully, the miniseries will not attempt to tackle. This is not the first time the classic book has been adapted; many a miniseries and film have been made—one starring Audrey Hepburn—but with Weinstein on board, this is likely to be a star-studded masterpiece (or just star-studded, at the very least). Because the novel has over 25 significant characters, casting is likely to be a logistical nightmare; but don’t fret, Harvey, we’ve gone ahead and assembled a few suggestions for the most prominent players.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.