Cannes: Lily James to Play Bank Robber in Phillip Noyce's True-Crime Feature 'Peggy Jo'

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Lily James

HanWay will be introducing the project at the upcoming virtual Cannes market.

Yesterday and Baby Driver star Lily James is set to take the lead in true-crime feature Peggy Jo from award-winning director Phillip Noyce (Salt, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Dead Calm). 

James will play Peggy Jo Tallas, billed a "real-life Bonnie but without a Clyde," who takes to robbing banks while posing as a man. Adapted for the screen by Appaloosa writer Robert Knott, the film will be shot on location in southern United States.  

Peggy Jo is produced by Simon Brooks through his L.A.-based production entity Canyon Creek Films; Brooks previously produced Love, Rosie and executive produced White Noise. HanWay Films has picked up international sales rights and will introduce the project to the buyers at the upcoming Cannes Virtual Market. UTA Independent Film Group is handling the U.S. sale.

Inspired by her love of stories such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and eager to support her struggling family financially, Peggy Jo starts holding up a string of banks as her famous alter-ego "Cowboy Bob". She becomes more and more daring, hotly pursued by an astute FBI agent. But along the way she loses her heart to a damaged soul and when her love story is threatened, Peggy chooses to go down in a blaze of glory.

According to the FBI, Peggy Jo Tallas was one of the most unusual bank robbers of her generation, always alone, without a partner to drive her getaway car and determined not to carry a weapon into any bank she robbed. 

"I have been looking to make a movie with Phillip Noyce for years and Peggy Jo is finally the one," said Brooks. "It is a great emotive and thrilling story that will capture audiences worldwide."

HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart said: “Peggy Jo is all about wanting more than your life presents to you and celebrates with a wink and a nod, many of our favourite films from the 70s through to the 80s, in tone, fun, music, colour and pure escapist entertainment, with a whole load of heart."

Noyce is represented by UTA and attorney Wendy Kirk; James is represented by UTA and Tavinstock Wood. Robert Knott is repped by APA and Thruline.