War of the Worlds, the template-setting 1898 alien invasion sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells, has certainly seen its share of adaptations over its century-plus existence; a multi-medium collection that will soon add a promising miniseries by the BBC. However, Urban Myth Films is prepping its own television take on the classic story of extraterrestrial conflagration. Moreover, the series has procured a pair of prestigious stars for its effort.
Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern will headline a War of the Worlds television series. This adaptation – arriving as eight 60-minute episodes – puts Wells’s story through the lens of modernization, manifesting as a contemporary-set reimagining of the tale; a stark distinction from the BBC miniseries, which adapts a more traditional setting for the story in the brief 1901-1910 era of Edwardian England. Indeed, this version, set in contemporary Europe, will follow the remnants of humanity after an apocalyptic strike on Earth.
Urban Myth’s adaptation will be written and created by Howard Overman, a scribe who’s tackled his share of genre shows, currently on Hulu’s Future Man, which he co-created, with work banked on Crazyhead, Atlantis, Misfits, Merlin and the BBC’s 2010-2012 Dirk Gently series. He is joined by Gilles Coulier (Cargo), who will direct Episodes 1-4, and Richard Clark (Versailles) who will handle Episodes 5-8. The creative team consists of director of photography David Williamson (De Dag) and production designer Richard Bullock (Les Misérables). As Urban Myth’s Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy express of the group in a statement:
“We know they will deliver exceptional performances in this contemporary and extremely relevant story reflecting our world today as we reel through strange and tumultuous times.”
Star Gabriel Byrne, a veteran Irish actor, known from signature iconic roles in films such as The Usual Suspects and Miller’s Crossing, recently appeared – opposite Emma Stone and Jonah Hill – in the Netflix series, Maniac and banked an appearance in last year’s hit horror film, Hereditary. Co-star Elizabeth McGovern, a veteran American actress, known from Oscar-recognized classics such as director Robert Redford’s Ordinary People and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, would become a TV mainstay in recent years on Downton Abbey. She recently appeared in the Jackie Chan actioner, The Commuter.
Byrne and McGovern are joined in the War of the Worlds cast by Lea Drucker (Le Bureau des Legendes), Natasha Little (Silent Witness), Daisy Edgar Jones (Cold Feet), Stéphane Caillard (Genius), Adel Bencherif (The Prophet) and Guillaume Gouix (The Returned).
The Urban Myth War of the Worlds reimagining will have global designs, representing a co-financing/co-distribution deal with AGC Television, who will distribute in North America and share those duties with Canal+ in France, Studiocanal in Asia, Australasia, Latin America, and the Middle East, with Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa handling its designated regions, barring French-speaking territories.
We will keep you updated on this version of War of the Worlds as details arrive.