Lily James, Dominic West in The Pursuit of Love and other adaptations

Lily James, Dominic West in The Pursuit of Love and other adaptations

Who needs Normal People? From Rebecca to The Pursuit of Love, broadcasters bet on book adaptations for their next big hits (and they’re all the more tantalising after Dominic West and Lily James’ clinch in Rome)

  • Lily James and Dominic West were seen putting on an amorous display in Rome
  • Actors appear opposite each other in TV adaptation of The Pursuit of Love 
  • James also stars in Netflix’s film version of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca 
  • Among a number of literary adaptations set to be released in the coming months

With Normal People one of the TV hits of the year, it is of little surprise broadcasters and streaming services have bet big on adaptations to draw in viewers. 

Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl are among the literary heavyweights whose work will be brought to cinemas – and living rooms – in the coming months, with all-star casts set to breathe new life into beloved characters. 

Although it is among the lesser-known titles in the pipeline, The Pursuit of Love will  no doubt be among the most hotly anticipated after two of its stars, Lily James and Dominic West, were spotted kissing and embracing in Rome.

West, 31, stars in the adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s celebrated novel as ‘wild and love-addicted’ Linda Radlett, who enjoys romances with men across Europe while on the hunt for the ideal husband.    

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Lily James, 31, stars in The Pursuit of Love as ‘wild and love-addicted’ Linda Radlett, who enjoys romances with men across Europe while on the hunt for the ideal husband. Dominic West, 50, who was seen kissing and embracing the young actress in Rome, plays her father, Matthew

Interest in the show is likely to reach fever pitch now that two of its stars, Lily James, 31, and Dominic West, 50, were spotted putting on an amorous display on the streets of Rome, above

But fans hoping to see she and West, 51, recreate their chemistry on screen will be left disappointed because the pair appear as father and daughter, rather than love interests.  

James, best known for Cinderalla and Mama Mia: Here We Go Again, will also star in Netflix’s adaptation Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which will be released in cinemas across the UK on Friday and on Netflix next week. 

Elsewhere, Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer star in a big budget adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death On The Nile. Versions of Around The World In 80 Days and The Witches are also set for release.

Here, a closer look at the literary adaptations you need to know…

THE PURSUIT OF LOVE 

Adapted from Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel of the same name, The Pursuit of Love follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett (James) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham). Pictured, James in the film 

Linda and Fanny’s friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places. Pictured, James and Beecham as Linda and Fanny in a scene from the TV adaptation of The Pursuit of Love 

Adapted from Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel of the same name, The Pursuit of Love follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett (James) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham).   

Consumed by a desire for love and marriage, the two women go on the hunt for the ideal husband. 

Their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places. 

Over the course of the novel, Linda has relationships with a banking heir, an ardent Communist and a wealthy French duke. 

Promotional images released from the show depict James in her 1940s glamour, surrounded by adoring men. 

West, who was seen canoodling with James while taking in the sights of Rome, plays her father.  

Filming for the show is taking place primarily in the area around Bristol and Bath. As filming started in July, the Radio Times anticipates the show, written in directed by Emily Mortimer, could hit screens by the end of the year.  

REBECCA

Fans of Lily James don’t need to wait until The Pursuit of Love to catch the actress in a period literary adaptation. She also stars as Mrs de Winter (pictured) in Netflix’s take on Daphne du Maurier’s gothic thriller Rebecca, which is available to stream from next Wednesday 

James stars opposite Armie Hammer, who plays wealthy widower Maxim de Winter

Fans of Lily James don’t need to wait until The Pursuit of Love to catch the actress in a period literary adaptation. 

She also stars as Mrs de Winter in Netflix’s take on Daphne du Maurier’s gothic thriller Rebecca, which will be available to stream from next week. 

The romantic murder mystery still sells more than 50,000 copies a year, eight decades after it was first published, and Netflix will no doubt hope that the interest in the book translates to eyeballs on its film adaptation. 

James stars opposite Hollywood actor Armie Hammer, who plays wealthy widower Maxim de Winter, owner of Manderley, the sprawling, intimidating mansion haunted by memories of his late wife Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter.

When Maxim and James’s character, the unnamed narrator meet, she is working as a companion to vulgar American Mrs Van Hopper (Ann Dowd).

As Mrs Danvers, Kristin Scott Thomas makes a formidable foe for James’s ‘shy, uneasy colt’, as she’s referred to in the book. 

The award-winning star stressed that this new Rebecca is based on Du Maurier’s tome and not Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 classic, which starred Laurence Olivier as de Winter, Joan Fontaine as the second Mrs de Winter, and Judith Anderson as Danvers. 

DEATH ON THE NILE

Currently scheduled for release this December is Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Death On The Nile, one of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels. Pictured, the cast

Currently scheduled for release this December is Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Death On The Nile, one of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels.  

Kenneth, who directed the film and appears in it as Agatha’s extravagantly moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, claims it is the most sensual and sexually charged adaptation yet of the famous story of lust, greed and murder.

Agatha’s great-grandson James Prichard, who is a producer on the film, echoed this when he told the Daily Mail this adaptation is ‘the sexiest Christie that has ever been made. That doesn’t mean it’s explicit, but the central element of the story is passion.’

Death On The Nile has been adapted several times before, including by Agatha herself as a play, but most memorably in the 1978 film with Peter Ustinov as Poirot appearing alongside Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury and David Niven.

Once again, the new film features a star-studded cast including Hollywood veteran Annette Bening, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, heartthrob Armie Hammer, comedy legends Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, hell-raising comic Russell Brand and Black Panther actress Letitia Wright.

The story focuses on the wedding and honeymoon journey of fabulously wealthy socialite Linnet Ridgeway, played by Israeli supermodel turned actress Gal Gadot, and her new husband Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer).

He had been engaged to impoverished French aristocrat Jacqueline De Bellefort (Sex Education’s Emma Mackey), until she made the mistake of introducing him to her old school friend Linnet, who always gets what she wants.

Meanwhile, Jacqueline is broken-hearted by the betrayal but putting a brave face on it as they take a luxurious but increasingly hellish journey along the Nile aboard the SS Karnak. In true Agatha Christie style, the trip is quickly marred by brutal murder.   

THE WITCHES 

Yet another star-studded adaptation on its way is the Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches, based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. Pictured, Octavia Spencer as grandmother 

Dahl’s 1983 novel follows the story of a seven-year-old boy named Bruno (Codie-Lei Eastick) who comes face-to-face with a group of real witches – led by the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway, pictured) – who have a plan to turn children into mice before exterminating them

Yet another star-studded adaptation on its way is the Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches, based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. 

The film stars Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth, Chris Rock and Jahzir Kadeem Bruno. 

Dahl’s 1983 novel follows the story of a seven-year-old boy named Bruno (Codie-Lei Eastick) who comes face-to-face with a group of real witches – led by the Grand High Witch (Hathaway) – who have a plan to turn children into mice before exterminating them.   

Teaming up with two other children and his grandmother (Octavia Spencer), Bruno fights to thwart their terrible scheme . 

The film was previously adapted in 1990, with Angelica Houston taking on the role of the Grand High Witch. The film was disliked by Dahl because the ending differed from that in his book. 

However it is thought the latest version will be more rooted in the original material.    

The film was originally scheduled for a wide theatrical release in time for Halloween but Warner Bros has adapted its strategy in light of Covid-19 restrictions. 

Instead the film will stream on HBO Max in the US and will be made available on other video on demand services for international audiences.   

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

David Tennant plays Phileas Fogg in the BBC’s eight-part adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, which is set to be released in 2021. He appears opposite Ibrahim Koma as sidekick Passepartout and Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix (pictured, in an early promotional still)

He recently wowed viewers as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV’s Des, but David Tennant will soon play a far more wholesome role in Around The World In 80 Days. 

The actor plays Phileas Fogg in the BBC’s eight-part adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, which is set to be released in 2021. 

He appears opposite Ibrahim Koma as sidekick Passepartout and Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix, a journalist who joins the voyage to chronicle the experience.

A first-look image shows all three actors dressed in period costume in their roles.   

Filming began in February but was subsequently halted due to coronavirus.  

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