Les Misérables screenwriter Andrew Davies jokes that powerful female characters are now ‘compulsory’ – and bemoans the lack of ‘droopy soppy girls’ on screen
- Andrew Davies has masterminded the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Les Mis
- The screenwriter spoke to BBC Four about how female characters have changed
- Welshman joked that he longs to write a ‘really droopy, soppy girl’ on screen
- Says networks are ‘run by strong women who like to see themselves reflected’
The screenwriter behind some of British film’s most famous period dramas has bemoaned the rise of strong female characters in a tongue-in-cheek interview.
Andrew Davies, who has masterminded the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Victor Hugo epic Les Misérables, joked that it was now ‘compulsory’ to include powerful leading ladies on screen in a post #MeToo era.
Speaking in a new BBC Four documentary, the outspoken Welshman said he had found himself ‘pleading’ to write a ‘really droopy, soppy girl’ into his scripts in recent years.
According to the Daily Telegraph, 82-year-old Davies said: ‘Now of course it’s compulsory. Drama networks are run by strong women who like to see themselves reflected.
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L-R Ayoola Smart as Zephine, Lily Collins as Fantine and Charlotte Dylan as Favorite in the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Victor Hugo’s wartime epic Les Misérables, which has been adapted from the original text by outspoken screenwriter Andrew Davies
Andrew Davies (pictured in London in 2012) has masterminded the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Victor Hugo epic Les Misérables. In a new interview he has joked that it is now ‘compulsory’ to include powerful leading ladies on screen in a post #MeToo era
‘I often find myself pleading, “Can’t I write a really droopy soppy girl,” and they say no, they’ve got to be strong and independent.’
House of Cards screenwriter Davies also opened up on the difficulties on rewriting Hugo’s 1,900-page wartime epic, saying: ‘He set the chronology in rather an odd way, and I like to be able to straighten it out.’
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Following months of anticipation, the BBC finally unveiled details of its blockbuster six-part TV adaptation of Les Misérables in October.
A star-studded line-up, including Lily Collins, Ellie Bamber, Olivia Colman and Dominic West are seen in period costume for the upcoming drama — which, unlike the 2012 silver screen version, will not be a musical.
The network has broken new ground by casting a black actor, Selma star David Oyelowo, as Javert – a part played by Russell Crowe and Geoffrey Rush in recent film versions of the tale, set in 19th century France.
Olivia Colman, Dominic West, Lily Collins and David Oyelowo on set in the BBC’s Les Misérables adaptation, which has been years in the making and will hit screens this weekend
Oyelowo will portray the police inspector’s ‘cat-and-mouse’ relationship with ex-convict Jean Valjean, played by West.
Meanwhile, Collins, daughter of singer Phil Collins, has secured what is arguably her biggest role to date, as Fantine, a part which won Anne Hathaway an Oscar in 2013.
The cast shot scenes in Belgium and northern France earlier this year, and the six-part series is expected to air in early 2019.
Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was involved in the early stages of planning, as Weinstein Television was involved in the production in association with co-producers BBC Studios and Lookout Point.
However, his production company was dropped by the BBC last year, and the series will now be a Lookout Point and BBC Studios co-production for BBC One and Masterpiece.
The 2012 film, directed by Tom Hooper, picked up 81 awards, including a Golden Globe for best actor for Hugh Jackman, who played Jean Valjean.
Andrew Davies: Rewriting the Classics airs on BBC Four on December 30
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