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From lord of the manor to the lord of children’s literature.
Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Viceroy’s House) is set to play Roald Dahl in an untitled biopic about the famed author of beloved novels such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG.
Goldcrest Films, which is financing and co-producing the film alongside overseeing global sales and distribution, is set to introduce the project to buyers in Cannes. Atticus Pictures co-produces. Emmy-winning filmmaker John Hay (Lost Christmas) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with David Logan.
Billed as a bittersweet, comedic and heart-warming story of Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal’s (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) marriage to Dahl, the film will be set between New York, England and L.A. at the beginning of the 1960s as the writer struggles over some of his most famous works, and his wife returns to acting with Hud (for which she would finally win an Oscar).
In the vein of Saving Mr Banks and Finding Neverland the film will also be populated by a host of household names from the world of entertainment, including Paul Newman.
“This film tracks the personal triumphs and tragedies behind the marriage of two globally known superstars,” said Goldcrest managing director Pascal Degove. “John and David’s excellent script is an audience-pleasing portrayal of Roald and Patricia’s touching love story backgrounded by the cinematic sweep of the swinging sixties.”
Added Elliot Jenkins, who produces for Atticus Films: “Personally I can’t imagine anyone better than Hugh Bonneville to give the ambivalent nature of Roald Dahl’s life: He was such a man of wounded parts below his polished veneer of self-confidence.”
The Untitled Roald Dahl & Patricia Neal project is based on Stephen Michael Shearer’s novel An Unquiet Life. Production is due to start later this year.
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