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LONDON – Penelope Wilton (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Sam Reid (Serena), Tom Felton (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and James Norton (Rush) are the latest names to join BAFTA award winner Amma Asante‘s sophomore movie effort, the period drama Belle.
The movie, written by Asante, also boasts Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson and Sarah Gadon in the cast, as well as lead Gugu Mbatha Raw.
The project is billed as a tale of passion and romance and tells the tale of a mixed–race girl raised as an aristocratic lady in 18th century England.
Produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady), Asante’s second film as writer/director following her BAFTA Award-winning A Way of Life in 2004, was originally developed with Chris Collins at the now defunct U.K. Film Council and also at the British Film Institute.
It marks one of the first productions to be awarded production finance by Ben Roberts, the new director of the BFI Film Fund. It will shoot in the Isle of Man, London, Oxford, as well as Pinewood Studios, for seven weeks beginning Sept. 24.
Executive producers are Steve Christian (Chico & Rita), Julie Goldstein (Shakespeare In Love), Ivan Dunleavy (Pinewood Shepperton CEO), Steve Norris (Me And Orson Welles), Phil Hunt (Trishna) and Compton Ross (Trishna).
Collins will oversee the production for the BFI Film Fund and the co-producers are Robert Norris and Jane Robertson (The Lady).
U.K. based banner Bankside Films is handling exclusive worldwide sales, with CinemaNX on board to distribute in the U.K.
Pre-sales inked by Bankside include Icon in Australia, Benelux Film Distributors in Benelux, Rialto in Switzerland, Shooting Stars in Middle East, Bonton in Czech Republic, and Jaguar for World Airline rights.
Belle is the third project to receive investment from Pinewood Studios as part of its Pinewood Films initiative which was established to help fund and support British, independent films.
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