Although Thomas Hardy was hard at work on his novels when cinema was still in its cot, his work has a distinctly cinematic quality. His rolling countrysides, strapping woodsmen and doomed love affairs have been the stuff of a thousand big-screen romances, not to mention one or two noteworthy adaptations of their own. The latest to dive into 19th century Wessex is Thomas Vinterberg, who's following in John Schlesinger and Stephen Frears' wellie steps in bringing Hardy's most successful novel Far From The Madding Crowd to the screen.
These new stills major on Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, the Hunger Gamesy-sounding heroine of the tale. Look out, too, for Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer smitten by her charms, and Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), an equally lovestruck soldier.
Adapted by One Day novelist David Nicholls, Far From The Madding Crowd is the story of an independent, beautiful and headstrong woman who attracts three very different suitors: the stolid Oak; the handsome and recklessTroy; and William Boldwood (Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor.
Nicholls, who adapted Hardy’s Tess Of The D’Urbervilles for the BBC in 2008, has “beautifully captured the heart of Hardy's original," says producer Andrew Macdonald. "Far From The Madding Crowd is one of the most enduring and captivating stories in English literature. It is very exciting to be working with Carey Mulligan again, as well as an exceptional cast and crew all round.”
After enduring a painfully fallow period in his career, the gifted Vinterberg seems to be bouncing back strongly. His debut, Festen, promised much and 2012 drama The Hunt was a return to form after a disappointment or two. We'll be awaiting this one eagerly.