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James McAvoy's New Version Of Watership Down' To Air Just Before Christmas

James McAvoy's New Version Of Watership Down' To Air Just Before Christmas

From the novel that enthralled the world, and a film that disturbed the world, comes a new version of an animation classic



A new version of animation classic Watership Down is set to screen on 22 and 23 December, just in time to follow in the footsteps of the original as a non-festive Christmas classic.

Don't know the original? Back in 1978, an adaptation of Richard Adams' classic children's novel Watership Down was released. Today the film is hailed as one of the greatest animated feats of the past half a century - it's also hailed as one of the most horrific.

The fantastical film is set in rural England and sees a colony of talking rabbits - one of whom has apocalyptic visions - as they flee their doomed warren to find and defend a new home. Despite it being a kid's movie, the gory and disturbing imagery is rife from the get-go.

Apparently the gory parts have been toned down somewhat for an upcoming live-action version from Netflix and the BBC, with James McAvoy, John Boyega, Nicholas Hoult and Olivia Colman all lending their voices to the starry cast.

Executive producer, Roy Aitken, told the Telegraph that the updated version will not just tone down the levels of on-screen violence to make it more appropriate for children, but give a boost to its female characters.

He added: "While we won't shy away from the darkness in the book, visually it won't be as brutal and scarring."

Although the terror has reportedly been dampened for the upcoming mini-series, hopefully it will contain the same heart and ferocity as the original. And the story will remain true to its source, involving a rabbit named Fiver (Hoult) who is haunted by post-apocalyptic visions foreseeing their home's destruction.

Led by Fiver's brother, Hazel (McAvoy), the group embark on a treacherous journey in search of a promised warren: Watership Down.

Matthew Read, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, said: "Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down; Richard Adams' novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest selling books in history.

"It is fantastic to have the opportunity to bring a modern classic to a mainstream BBC One audience with such an incredible roster of actors alongside the talented team overseeing the animation."

The new version of Watership Down.

The question now is how true to the original will the new version stay? The 1978 film saw rabbits being buried alive and tearing each other's throats out, leading to the collective traumatisation on an entire generation. By the sounds of things, the McAvoy-starring update won't be quite so gruesome... damn.

For those of you interested in tuning in, the four-part mini-series airs on BBC One during Christmas week, and will be released on Netflix for international viewers.

Featured Image Credit: BBC / CIC

Topics: TV and Film, UK Entertainment, Netflix