Director Tom Shankland didn’t want his Les Miserables to be anything like the stage-musical version of Victor Hugo’s sweeping historical novel, nor like the 2012 Tom Hooper feature-film musical.
For the BBC limited series — a drama starring Olivia Colman, Lily Collins, David Oyelowo and Dominic West, which aired the first of its six episodes in the U.S. on PBS on April 14 — Shankland’s goal was to get back to the roots of the story, using large portions of what Hugo gave readers in his 1862 book. He worked closely with his crew to impart his vision.
Production designer Richard Bullock, whose credits include “Peaky Blinders” and “McMafia,” found a great deal of specificity in the source work. “I read the novel, and Tom and I referenced it hugely,” he says. “There is so much great description, which helped throughout the entire production. Even if the details didn’t make it directly into the script, we still put them into the world.” Read more