Rafe Spall (The Ritual, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) will be top billing alongside Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Jack the Giant Slayer) in BBC One’s The War of the Worlds. Deadline reports the adaptation will be a three-part drama produced by ITV-owned Mammoth Screen. Mammoth Screen is a television production company based in London and Belfast.
Craig Viveiros (And Then There Were None) will be directing the H.G. Wells adaptation about an alien invasion ravaging Earth. Betsan Morris Evans (The City & The City) is set to produce.
Rafe Spall has become a sort of unsung hero in the horror/thriller genres. He most recently played the tormented lead character in Netflix’s supernatural horror film The Ritual. However, he actually had several smaller roles in horror/thrillers long before his recent streaming hit.
Spall played the smart mouthed sales associate in Edgar Wright’s horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, as well as the unmotivated detective Andy Cartwright in Hot Fuzz. He even had a memorable (but unfortunate) scene as Millburn in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. If you don’t recall which character that was, he’s the biologist who died infamously trying to pet the penis snake. Not his finest film moment.
Eleanor Tomlinson’s previous horror roles include the 2014 horror mystery Styria, and the 2015 horror comedy short film A Stranger Kind. Deadline reports “Tomlinson said she was delighted to be ‘taking on the martians’ with Spall.”
Viveiros said, “H.G. Wells’ seminal novel has been adapted for the screen many times but it’s always had a contemporary, and American, setting, this is the first version to be set in London and the Home Counties during the Edwardian period. Peter’s scripts manage to honour the source material with great skill, but we aim to provide a thoroughly modern thrill ride for the audience, delivering an alien invasion story that will shock and awe audiences across the globe.”
The last notable on-screen adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was Steven Spielberg’s 2005 version starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning set in the modern U.S. The film boasted impressive set-pieces and visuals, but audience reactions were polarizing.
The BBC One adaptation of The War of the Worlds is currently in production, with no word yet on an official release date.