BBC, Netflix to remake Watership Down

Scripted-logo-460_2Global streamer Netflix and British pubcaster the BBC will remake Watership Down, with John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Ben Kinglsey (Sexy Beast) attached to star.

The four-part animated miniseries will also star Nicholas Hoult (X Men: Apocalypse), James McAvoy (Atonement) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), and comes with the backing of UK-based production management group 42.

This comes after Martin Rosen’s influential 1978 animated movie, and an animated TV version, which went out on YTV in Canada and CITV in the UK between 1999 and 2001.

Tom Bidwell (My Mad Fat Diary) will write the new show, which Noam Murro will direct. The BBC and Netflix are coproducing, with 42 and Murro’s Biscuit Films attached.

Pete Dodd (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Hugo Sands will lead animation production along with Ireland’s Brown Bag Films. ITV Studios Global Entertainment has international distribution rights thanks to a first-look deal with 42.

42’s Rory Aitken, Ben Pugh, Eleanor Moran and Josh Varney will executive-produce, along with Murro and BBC Drama commissioning editor Michael Read.

Watership Down will be based on the Richard Adams classic novel set in southern England and about a group of strong-willed rabbits who are forced to flee in face of certain destruction of their warren.

“Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down; Richard Adams’ novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest-selling books in history,” said Read.

“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to bring a modern classic to a mainstream BBC One audience with such an incredible roster of actors alongside the talented team overseeing the animation. This fantastic take on the novel will unite the whole family, and bring this classic story to a new generation.”

“Adapting this much-loved novel in a fresh and innovative way is a truly exciting opportunity,” added 42 co-founder Aitken. “Telling the story over four hours of CG animation allows us to explore the characters from the novel and their adventure in a way not previously achievable on screen.”