Universal Teams With 'King's Speech' Producers on Mary Magdalene Biopic
See-Saw Films' biblical drama will be directed by Garth Davis, currently in postproduction on the Nicole Kidman-starring 'Lion.'
Her first cinematic outing dates back to 1912 and she's appeared as a character in countless films since then — but Mary Magdalene is finally getting a major biopic of her own.
Universal Pictures International Productions has boarded Mary Magdalene, the latest effort from growing British and Australian banner See-Saw Films, described as an "authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history." See-Saw, the production house behind The King's Speech, Shame and 2016's Cannes-bowing Macbeth, developed the project with Film4.
The film, to be directed by Garth Davis from a script by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett, will be produced by See-Saw co-founders Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, with shooting expected to start this summer. Davis is currently finishing the See-Saw drama Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara and based on Saroo Brierly's autobiography A Long Way Home.
"We're delighted to be beginning a new production relationship with Universal Pictures International Productions on Mary Magdalene," said Sherman and Canning. "The story of Mary Magdalene's life and legacy has not been fully explored on film and so we look forward to working with UPIP and bringing this exciting story to the screen."
The film will be overseen at Universal by managing director of UPIP Peter Kujawski and co-managing director Robert Walak, who negotiated the deal along with UPIP business affairs head Alexander Jooss.
Universal will release Mary Magdalene in all international territories except Australia and New Zealand, where it will be handled by See-Saw's longtime partners, Transmission Films.
See-Saw also has the Kidman-starring How to Talk to Girls at Parties — also co-written by Goslett — in the pipeline, which completed shooting in the U.K. in December. The '70s-set sci-fi romantic comedy, based on Neil Gaiman's short story of the same name, is being directed by John Cameron Mitchell and also stars Elle Fanning.
Davis is repped by UTA, Edmundson is with The Agency and Goslett is repped by UTA and Casarotto Ramsey & Associates.