Simon Curtis film tells true story of Gustav Klimt painting stolen by the Nazis; BBC Films slate will also include Saoirse Ronan in World War I memoir "Testament of Youth"
Simon Curtis will direct the art-world drama "The Golden Lady" for BBC Films, which announced an upcoming slate of films at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.
The film from "My Week With Marilyn" director Curtis was written by playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell. It tells the true story of Maria Altmann, who fought to reclaim a number of Gustav Klimt paintings, including a renowned portrait of her aunt (left), that had been stolen from her family by the Nazis in World War II.
The company also announced that actress Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones") will star in "Testament of Youth," Juliette Towhidi's adaptation of Vera Brittains's World War I memoir. "Harry Potter" producer David Heyman's Heyday Films will produce the film.
“A winning combination of hot new talent and more experienced high-profile filmmakers and artists makes this year’s slate a genuinely rich, diverse and exciting proposition,” said Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films, in a press release announcing the new slate.
BBC Films is currently represented at Cannes by the Rufus Norris film "Broken," which opened the Critics Week section. It also has the Dustin Hoffman-directed "Quartet" opening later this year, along with Mike Newell's "Great Expectations," James Marsh's thriller "Shadow Dancer" and Ol Parker's teen romance "Now Is Good."
The announcement also revealed a number of other BBC Films projects:
"Don Hemingway" is a black comedy about a safecracker newly released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence. The film will star Jude Law and Richard E. Grant for director Richard Sheppard ("Matador") and producer Jeremy Thomas.
"Saving Mr. Banks" will star Tom Hanks and tell the story of the feud between Walt Disney and novelist P.L. Travers over Disney's battle to obtain the rights to "Mary Poppins." Ruby Films will produce the movie, which was written by Kelly Marcel.
"The Alan Partridge" movie, based on the British television series, will begin shooting in the fall with star Steve Coogan and producer/creator Armando Iannucci ("Veep," "In the Loop"). Declan Lowney will direct.
"Invisible Woman" will be Ralph Fiennes' follow-up to his directorial debut, "Coriolanus." Felicity Jones will star in the title role of the film written by Abi Morgan about the secret affair between Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens. Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander will also star.
"Good Vibrations" will premiere at this year' Belfast Film Festival. The film, directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, is about Belfast punk-rock legend Terri Hooley, who started the record shop and independent label from which the film draws is name.
"Blood" is a psychological thriller starring Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham and directed by Nick Murphy. It recently finished shooting.
An untitled Sally Potter film, set in London in 1962 as "the cold war meets the sexual revolution," has also finished shooting and will be distributed in the UK by Artificial Eye. Elle Fanning and Alice Englert star.
"Spike Island" deals with a group of boys who form their own indie rock band and travel to Spike Island to see the Stone Roses perform in 1990. Elliott Tittensor and Matthew McNulty star for director Mat Whitecross.
Additional announcements made by BBC Films at Cannes include four short films made for the London 2012 Festival, to coincide with the London Olympic Games this summer. Those films, made in a partnership with Film4 and LOCOG, include Lynne Ramsay's "Swimmer" and Max Giwa's and Dania Pasquini's "What If."