From Bottom to Count Rostov: Ade Edmondson cast in BBC's War and Peace

Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein is producing the series

Kate Ferguson
Sunday 28 December 2014 16:04

He is best known for playing the foul-mouthed loser Eddie who lives on the dole in a run-down flat in Shepherd's Bush in the TV slapstick comedy Bottom.

But Ade Edmondson's latest role couldn't be further apart from the jobless no-hoper, as he is set to star in a BBC adaptation of the Russian classic War And Peace.

Edmondson, 57, will star alongside Lily James, best known as Downton Abbey's Lady Rose, and Paul Dano from There Will Be Blood, in the remake of Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece.

Edmondson will play Count Rostov, who accumulates debts through extravagant living, squandering the inheritance of his four children.

Lily James will play his charming and lively daughter while Greta Scacchi, who starred in the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited, will play his wife, the profligate countess.

Paul Dano, who starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, has landed the part of Pierre Bezukhov, a social misfit son of a Russian grandee whose unexpected inheritance transforms his fortunes.

And James Norton, best known for Happy Valley and Grantchester, will play Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, a stern, old-fashioned recluse.

Downton Abbey's Lady Rose

The 19th century novel has been adapted by screenwriter Andrew Davies, a Bafta fellow behind the adaptations of Vanity Fair and Pride And Prejudice.

He said: "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.

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"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."

Norton said: "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.”

Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, who is producing the series with the BBC, said: "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 under way with Andrew Davies and the phenomenal team at BBC."

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