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Steve Coogan has signed on to play the title role of 18th century lawyer James Boswell in a film adaptation of the West End play Boswell for the Defence.
Gregor Jordan (Ned Kelly) will direct from a script by Patrick Edgeworth, who also wrote the play more than two decades ago.
The film centers on James Boswell (Coogan), who in the twilight of his career and life takes on an impossible case — to save the life of the convict Mary Bryant from the gallows, a case no one else wants. In the tragi-comic, Boswell is the most unlikely hero from the most unlikely quarter. But he manages to find his past brilliance long enough to save the day.
Highland Film Group (Instructions Not Included) is handling international sales and will present the project at the Toronto Film Festival.
Production is set for 2015.
Mark Pennell and Steve Chasman will produce. Armyan Bernstein (Beacon Pictures) will executive produce.
‘Whether it be Lincoln or Thatcher, bringing a historical figure to life is always a challenge, but Steve’s extraordinary ability to blend humor and pathos make him the perfect artist to bring such a complex character like Boswell to the screen,” Pennell and Chasman said. We are excited to see him make this role his own.”
Added Highland Film Group’s Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier: “We fell in love with the script, and combined with Gregor’s vision and Coogan’s talent, create the complete package, which will be sure to resonate with buyers and appeal to global audiences.”
Coogan is repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group.
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