Power duo take up Nobel cause

Phyllida Lloyd, David Thompson on Yunus pic

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CANNES -- Former BBC Films chief David Thompson and "Mamma Mia!" helmer Phyllida Lloyd are developing a movie based on the influence of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus' radical economic theories on the lives of women.

The U.K.-based Thompson is developing under his Origin Pictures banner, and theater veteran Lloyd, who made her big-screen directorial debut with the ABBA musical, is eyeing the film as a possible directing vehicle.

Thompson will work alongside producers Christian de Boisredon, Vivian Norris de Montaigu and Nicolas Jourdier, who initiated the project and collaborated closely with Yunus to bring the project to the table.

Known as the world's "banker to the poor," Yunus began by lending $27 to 42 people in 1976. His Grameen bank has since loaned more than $6 billion in Bangladesh and his work has been duplicated in over 100 countries.

By lending predominantly to women in poor communities, Yunus has managed to foster a spirit of collective responsibility underpinning the bank's success -- it boasts a 98.5% repayment rate, far higher than any commercial banks.

"Yunus has thrown down the gauntlet to all of us," Lloyd said." How to live our lives. If the poorest of the poor can transform their worlds, what excuse is there for the rest of us? This is an astonishing story of not taking 'no' for an answer."

The project will be one of Thompson's first forays into generating movie material after exiting the BBC, where he spent from than 30 years.

"We believe it will be entertaining and gripping, shining a spotlight on the global stories that bind and divide us," Thompson said.

For his part, Yunus has given the project the nod and said he felt sure Lloyd would be able to convert the ideas into a movie.