Danny La Rue Tales Being Groomed for Big Screen

3:26 AM PST 07/10/2012 by Stuart Kemp
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Martyn Hesford is writing the script for the BFI-backed film about the Irish-born drag performer famous for impersonations of Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor and others.

LONDON – Flamboyant Irish-born entertainer Danny La Rue, once billed as the world's most famous female impersonator, is to be the subject of a movie.

The project is being developed and will be produced by London and New York-based indie label Leopardrama and has secured development funding from the BFI Film Fund.

The script for the feature will be penned by Martyn Hesford, whose writing resume already boasts the BAFTA nominated film for the BBC, Fantabulosa!, about the British comic actor Kenneth Williams.

La Rue, who died in 2009, was a familiar face to millions in the U.K. and hosted his own TV series in the 1970s and also hosted his own Saturday night live show from the London Palladium.

Away from his glitzy public persona, which he employed to break the boundaries of mainstream entertainment with an acerbic risqué wit, La Rue enjoyed a complex web of relationships that included his male manager and lover and his devoted female costume designer Annie Galbraith.

Leopardrama exec producer Joey Attawia said the company has inked agreements with Galbraith and "other key intimates" of La Rue's to bring "this funny, moving and complex story to life."

The production banner's development producer David Chikwe, said: "We've been huge fans of Martyn Hesford's writing at Leopardrama for several years. Martyn’s writing combines wit with lyricism and sharp observation. He has a strong angle on Danny that will surprise and delight the audience."

The La Rue project builds on Leopardrama’s moviemaking ambitions.

It follows on from the company's feature The Holding, starring Vincent Regan and Kierston Wareing.

Earlier this year, Leopardrama parent company Argonon said it is backing British filmmaker Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) to make an adaptation of Richard McCann’s novel Mother of Sorrows for the big screen.

Argonon is a production group formed by Leopard Films CEO James Burstall in 2011. Leopardrama, Leopard Films, Leopard Films USA and Remedy Productions were the first to join the group, with Remedy Canada launching in June 2012 backed by Argonon. 

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