Justin Chadwick to Direct 'Tulip Fever'

8:23 AM PST 10/18/2013 by Stuart Kemp
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Alison Owen

"Elizabeth" producer Alison Owen's longstanding passion project is set to start production in 2014.

LONDON -- British producer Alison Owen, is set to work on two high-profile projects in 2014, including her long-standing passion project Tulip Fever, a film she has been trying to make for more than 10 years.

Owen, talking after delivering this year's industry keynote speech at the BFI London Film Festival, said the production is aiming to start in April 2014 with Justin Chadwick in the director's chair.

Owen said the project is out to an "exciting" list of talent to star in the long-gestating project.

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Owen's effort to bring the 17th century Dutch drama based on Deborah Moggach's novel of the same name to the big screen has been a long and hard road.

Just months before cameras were set to roll with Jude Law starring in the film in 2004, the production was closed down, due to a surprise decision by the British government to change its tax-break program. The changes meant a large part of the $20 million budget was wiped away overnight.

But Owen said Friday that she will mount the film in "April 2014, touch wood."

She is also in pre-production on The Fury, starring Carey Mulligan, which she is billing as a "gritty, emotional" account of the British suffragette movement in 1910.

Sarah Gavron is directing that film from a script by Abi Morgan, marking the project out as a powerful indictment of women in British film.

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Owen touched upon the representation of women in film and why the female of the species continues to be under-represented in the industry in a Q&A session after her keynote with BFI film fund chief Ben Roberts.

Owen noted that if women have children they generally have to take 10 years off before returning to their careers.

"It will get better," Owen said. "It's hard for women to step off the ladder and then start at the bottom again when they come back."

She cited successful female filmmakers Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers as two women who had achieved "great success" in their 50s.

Owen also warned tongue-in-cheek of the dangers of expressing too much interest in material to an agent.

She said she had recently lost out on an option to turn East of Eden into a high-end TV series after asking an agent about it.

"The agent unfortunately used my interest in it and ended up taking it to Ron Howard [Imagine Entertainment] who's going to make it with Jennifer Lawrence," she said, smiling ruefully.

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