SPC nabs rights to Frears' next

'Tamara Drewe' is based on Posey Simonds' comic strip

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American and Latin American rights to Stephen Frears' next film, "Tamara Drewe," which begins filming in the U.K. on Monday. The film will star Gemma Arterton as a young newspaper columnist who returns to the bucolic English country hometown to prepare her childhood home for sale.

The film, from Ruby Films, BBC Films and West End Films, is being produced by Alison Owen and Tracey Seaward.

It is based on Posey Simonds' comic strip, inspired by Thomas Hardy's novel "Far from the Madding Crowd," which was first published by the Guardian beginning in 2005 and was then compiled into a graphic novel in 2007. Moira Buffini wrote the screenplay.

The cast also includes Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans and Tamsin Greig.

Frear's first theatrical film, "My Beautiful Laundrette," was released by SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard back in 1986 when they were running Orion Classics.

It's the second deal in a little more than a week for SPC, which earlier this month picked up rights to Jean-Pierre Jeaunet's fantasy epic "Micmacs."