Lily James confirms her role in BBC1’s War and Peace

The Downton Abbey actress will be swapping Lady Rose for Natasha Rostova opposite rumoured co-star Paul Dano in the six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel

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Cast your mind back to July and – if you’re a hardcore Downton Abbey fan – you may remember rumours abounding that Lily James was set to star in BBC1’s new six-part adaptation of War and Peace. 

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Well, they’re true. “Yes, I’m doing War and Peace,” the actress confirmed to RadioTimes.com at the Downton Abbey series five launch event. 

Adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 epic, the six-part series – penned by Pride and Prejudice and House of Cards screenwriter Andrew Davies – is a co-production with The Weinstein Company and will air on BBC1 in 2015. 

Set in 1805 against the backdrop of Alexander I’s reign, the epic novel follows five aristocratic families and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano has been rumoured to star alongside James in the role of Pierre Bezukhov – Natasha’s love interest. 

James’s star has been firmly on the rise ever since she joined Downton Abbey during the series three Christmas special. Besides her role on the ITV drama, she’s currently filming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and will next be seen playing the lead in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella when it comes to cinemas next March – a project which saw her reunite with Sophie McShera who plays the Crawleys’ kitchen maid Daisy. 

“I can’t wait for you to see her in it,” said James. “She looks phenomenal, she’s got the best costumes ever – make up, lashes, hair, ornaments, jewellery – it’s the opposite of Daisy and she’s just amazing in it. People are going to go wild.”

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Downton Abbey returns to ITV at 9pm on Sunday 21st September. Watch the trailer below…