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‘War Horse’ Author Michael Morpurgo’s Other WW1 Drama ‘Private Peaceful’ To Be Adapted For The Big Screen

Written by on August 19, 2011 


Michael Morpurgo, despite being an acclaimed author hasn’t found many of his novels being requested to receive the transition from book to movie. However, with Steven Spielberg having taken on the adaptation of his much celebrated novel War Horse, set to release this Christmas, it seems developers are starting to take a more in depth look at his portfolio.

The Playlist reports that his 2003 book Private Peaceful,  is going to be transferred to the big screen and it seems almost everyone involved aren’t particularly well known, (excluding the author himself – no news on whether he will decide to play a part in the movie’s production himself) although lots of the names involved may ring a bell for you.

Helmed by Pat O’Connor (Sweet November, Circle of Friends) and written by Simon Reade, it shall feature Jack O’Connell, George Mackay and Alexandra Roach in the starring roles. In supporting roles are Richard Griffiths, Frances De La Tour (both of whom played parts in the Harry Potter movies), Samuel Bottomley and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (the newphew of Ralph and Joseph, no less). In keeping with it’s theme of featuring relative newcomers, Fluidity Films shall distribute.


“Private Peaceful details the gritty rural lives and loves of Tommo and Charlie – two young brothers – and their poor Devonshire family from 1909 until 1916, when the outbreak of war destroys their country idyll. Both join up (one under age) leaving behind the beautiful Molly who is the love of both their lives. The young men survive gas attacks, shelling, German troops and the appalling deaths of their close friends. But one thing they cannot escape is summary military justice.”

Speaking as somebody who has read the novel, I believe it makes good material for a big screen adaptation and I hope the people involved make a film worthy of the exceptionally powerful story. Shooting is likely to commence before the end of the year, although I am slightly doubtful of how big a budget they can produce here.

Michael Morpurgo‘s latest feature film adaptation, War Horse (also set during WW1), shall release on December 28th and is one of the frontrunners for Best Picture at the Oscars. Somehow I doubt Private Peaceful will be pushing for an Academy Award but stranger things have happened.

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