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Toronto 2012: Cynthia Nixon to Play Poet Emily Dickinson (Exclusive)

Cynthia Nixon
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

British filmmaker Terence Davies wrote the screenplay and will direct the biopic "A Quiet Passion."

TORONTO -- Cynthia Nixon is attached to play reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in a new biopic from British director Terence Davies (House of Mirth).

The film will trace Dickinson's life from precocious schoolgirl to the tortured recluse who saw only seven of her more than 1,000 poems published in her lifetime. After her death, Dickinson was recognized as one of the greatest American poets of all time.

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"I wrote the screenplay with Cynthia in mind," Davies said. "It was the kind of dream casting you hope for. I never, for a moment, imagined my wishes would materialize. Cynthia has such a strong feeling for the work -- and now she is our Emily Dickinson. I’m over the moon."

Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter from Hurricane Films, producers of Davies' acclaimed documentary Of Time and the City, will produce A Quiet Passion.

"When I read what Terence had written, I was consumed by the character he had so beautifully put on the page," Nixon about the role. "Emily Dickinson’s words and Terence’s somehow dovetail to create a heady elixir. When I put the script down, I knew it was a story that I simply have to be part of."

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Papadopoulos and Boulter are at the Toronto International Film Festival closing financing on another Davies project, Sunset Song. The coming-of-age tale, set in 1900, is based on the novel by Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Agyness Deyn (Clash of the Titans) and Peter Mullan (War Horse) have been linked to the project.