Television scribe Andrew Davies has a reputation for “sexing-up” literary classics (who could forget Colin Firth emerging from the lake in Pride and Prejudice?).
The War & Peace screenwriter once famously declared that wherever possible, he inserts a bath scene into a televised adaptation – but when it comes to his upcoming project A Suitable Boy, based on Vikram Seth’s bestseller of the same name, he has apparently resisted that urge.
Speaking exclusively to Radio Times, he said, “I did and I must get back to doing that [inserting bath scenes]. Did I put one into A Suitable Boy? Not quite, no.
“I think there are probably some bath scenes in Rabbit [his next big series is a 12-part adaptation of John Updike’s five-book series chronicling American life].”
Seth’s novel is well over 1,000-pages long, but Davies said that the book was in many ways “easy” to adapt, given its ready-made dialogue and compelling characters.
“A Suitable Boy was very easy in those terms. I didn’t have to work hard on the characters. There they were, and they were lovely. I didn’t have to work hard on the dialogue – it was so beautiful.”
An all-Indian cast was hired to portray Seth’s characters, including Bollywood legend Tabu as the enigmatic courtesan Saeeda Bai.
However, the BBC has since faced some criticism for hiring Davies, a white Welshman, to adapt the classic Indian tome over an Indian screenwriter.