Peter Webber to Direct Rose Tremain's 'The Colour'

Peter Webber Headshot - P 2011
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Peter Webber Headshot - P 2011

Ray Marshall's Festival Films developed the U.K.-New Zealand co-production.

Peter Webber (Emperor, Girl with a Pearl Earring) will direct an adaptation of English author Rose Tremain's epic novel, The Colour, which is set as a U.K.-New Zealand co-production, the New Zealand Film Commission said Wednesday.

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Producer Ray Marshall's Festival Films developed The Colour with support from the New Zealand Film Commission. The film will be co-produced with Tim Coddington's Nukuhau Films, reuniting Coddington and Webber, who worked together on Emperor.

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Tremain, who won the prestigious Orange Prize for her 2008 novel, The Road Home, will pen her debut screenplay for the film, which will be shot in New Zealand’s South Island in 2014, where Webber made Emperor.

Set in the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s, the story charts the fortunes of newly married immigrants Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, who emigrate to New Zealand with Joseph's widowed mother. Finding life as a small farmer more difficult than he expected, Joseph sets out to make his fortune. It's a disastrous decision that will change their lives forever.

"I'm very excited about the prospect of returning to New Zealand to shoot The Colour. It's an amazing novel, which has an enormous dramatic and visual canvas. Though it has a period setting, the story is about greed and despair, which gives it a real contemporary resonance," Webber said.

"It's taken nine years to bring this wonderful book to the screen. It's an extraordinary story, and we are delighted that Peter has agreed to direct. Tim and I believe that his incredible visual sensitivity makes him the perfect person to bring the book to life,” added Marshall.