LOS ANGELES, March 13 (UPI) -- Producer Roma Downey says she was determined to bring The Dovekeepers to the screen after falling in love with Alice Hoffman's historical novel on an airplane.
Downey and her husband Mark Burnett eventually adapted the book as a miniseries, which is set to air on CBS March 31 and April 1. Set in ancient Israel, it tells the story of a group of extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the Siege of Masada. The program will star Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title dovekeeper roles; Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus; and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada.
"I completely fell in love with the novel, The Dovekeepers, written by Alice Hoffman, while reading it on a flight to Europe a couple of years ago," Downey said in press notes released by CBS Thursday.
"I simply couldn't put the book down," she recalled. "I found the story gripping and exciting. I was so profoundly moved by it that I was weeping openly on the plane. The flight attendant even checked in on me to see if I was OK. When I returned home, I immediately reached out to Alice Hoffman to secure the rights and took the idea in to CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler and said: 'I have this wonderful book The Dovekeepers. I know it will make an incredible movie as it tells the story of the Siege of Masada -- but it tells it through the lives of these strong and courageous women. History is most often written by men about men, but this is a story told through the lives of these incredible women.' Coincidently, Nina Tassler had just returned from Masada and responded to the new spin on this story. She loved the idea and wanted it for CBS. So, we got together and made this gorgeous four-hour event."