Grace Kelly, who went from Hollywood royalty to genuine royalty, is heading to the big screen one more time.
Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, the Europacorp co-founder who recently launched his Stone Angel production and financing company, has acquired Grace of Monaco, a spec script by Arash Amel that sets Kelly’s personal story amid the politics of the time, in the vein of The King’s Speech.
Le Pogam won the script in a competitive situation, and the project is already generating heated interest from filmmakers itching to tell Kelly’s tale.
Kelly was born to a well-to-do family in Philadelphia—her father Jack Kelly was an Olympic gold medal rower and a successful businessman. She studied acting in New York, began her career working in live television in the early ’50s, and made her film debut with a small part in 1951’s Fourteen Hours. Her star ascended quickly when Gary Cooper chose her to play his leading lady in the 1952 Western High Noon. Her elegant blond coolness caught the eye of Alfred Hitchcock, and she starred in a succession of his films: 1954’s Dial M for Murder and Rear Window and 1955’s To Catch a Thief.
Kelly was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress for 1953’s Mogambo, and won the Academy Award as best actress in 1954’s The Country Girl, in which she played the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic actor portrayed by Bing Crosby.
During a visit to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, she was introduced to Prince Rainer of Monaco, and during a visit to America, Rainer proposed to her. Their royal wedding the following year was an international sensation, with a big contingent of Hollywood stars in attendance. Although Kelly had completed one more movie, the musical High Society, the new princess retired from acting, even though she continued to receive offers and retained close ties to many of her Hollywood friends.
In her new role as Princess Grace, Kelly lived by strict rules laid down by Rainer. She gave birth to three children – Caroline, Albert and Stephanie and in 1964 created The Princess Grace Foundation.
Her death in 1982 shocked the world: She suffered a stroke and lost control of her car while driving in the twisty streets of Monaco. Her daughter Stephanie, who was with her at the time, survived the crash. Nearly 100 million people watched her funeral on TV.
Amel’s script, however, isn’t a biopic and instead focuses on a six month period in 1962 when the city-state got into a heated dispute with France, which grew tired of the petite principality being a tax haven. Kelly, still relatively new in her role as princess, maneuvered behind the scenes to save Monaco from a coup. Insiders have compared the script to King’s Speech in scope and tone.
Le Pogam is producing and financing the picture. CAA is repping the domestic rights.
Amel, repped by CAA, is an up-and-coming scribe who wrote The Expatriate, a thriller starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko that recently wrapped shooting. He also sold an untitled action thriller for Summit.