ITV is making a seven-part drama Vanity Fair with Amazon Studios and production company Mammoth Screen.
The adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel has been commissioned as a seven-part drama by the broadcaster’s head of drama, Polly Hill, and will be shot in location in London and Budapest.
The series will be written by Gwyneth Hughes ("Dark Angel", "The Girl", "Miss Austen Regrets"), made with Amazon Studios and produced by Mammoth Screen. Oldham-born actress, Olivia Cooke, will play the "timeless heroine" Sharp. The 23-year-old is also starring in Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming film "Ready Player One".
Hughes’ adaptation of Thackeray’s literary classic is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows Becky Sharp as she tries to escape poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing”, spans the court of King George IV via the Battle of Waterloo through a succession of broken hearts.
It "promises to be a very exciting new drama for ITV next year", according to Hill. She said: “Vanity Fair feels like the perfect classic to adapt for ITV, and Gwyneth Hughes’ stunning scripts bring the novel to life in a way that will really connect with a modern audience. The question was always who would be our perfect Becky Sharp and that is undoubtedly Olivia Cooke."
Mammoth’s m.d Damien Timmer said: "We’re so proud to be working with ITV and Amazon on this most glorious of stories – the combination of Olivia Cooke, Gwyneth Hughes and Thackeray will be an irresistible one, and we look forward to watching Becky Sharp conquer the 21st century.”
"Vanity Fair" will be produced by Julia Stannard ("War & Peace", "The Great Train Robbery", "United") with James Strong ("Broadchurch", "United") directing. Timmer will be an executive producer for the series with Gwyneth Hughes, James Strong and Tom Mullens ("Endeavour", "Poldark").
It will be filmed on location in and around London, with additional shooting in Budapest, from September this year. ITV Studios GE will be responsible for international distribution of the series.
It was revealed in April that Mammoth Screen is also adapting China Miéville's The City & The City (Macmillan) for a four-part BBC Two drama starring David Morrissey. The company’s production "NW", the adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel, was recently nominated for two 2017 BAFTA British Academy Television Awards.
Hill was previously controller BBC Drama Commissioning and commissioned a drama series based on Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy of novels, His Dark Materials, in 2015.
Vanity Fair originally appeared as a 19-volume monthly serial between 1847 and 1848 and is now published by Penguin.