Pair bonds on ‘Evelyn’

Pic based on Desmond Doyle's battle with Irish gov't

NEW YORK — Pierce Brosnan and “Double Jeopardy” helmer Bruce Beresford will bond to make the Ireland-set drama “Evelyn” before Brosnan heads back to duty as James Bond in January.

“Evelyn” will begin production in mid-October, financed by German-based Cinerenta and distributed domestically by United Artists. Brosnan and his Irish Dreamtime partner Beau St. Clair will produce with Cinerenta’s Michael Ohoven.

Scripted by Paul Pender, the drama is based on the true story of Desmond Doyle, who fought a protracted battle with the Irish government to overturn an arcane custody law and with the Catholic church to recover his four children after his wife ran off and he lost his job. The film’s title refers to Doyle’s daughter. Brosnan would play Doyle.

“It has elements of ‘Erin Brockovich,’ the little guy fighting the system against all odds,” said St. Clair, who’s at Dublin’s Ardmore Studios, where the film will begin production Oct. 15. The film has long been a passion project for Brosnan, who spent some time under the care of the Christian Brothers order at a time when his single mother went to England to find work as a nurse. She reclaimed him once she got settled.

While late fall starts for films are few and far between, “Evelyn” came together because separate projects planned by Brosnan and Beresford had come undone, making both unexpectedly available.

Brosnan, who watched “A Sound of Thunder” stall because of script problems, had the same experience on an adaptation of the Alan Folsom novel “The Day After Tomorrow” with director Roger Donaldson. Meanwhile, Beresford’s plan to direct Michael Caine in “Boswell for the Defense” also never got off the ground.

Beresford sparked to the “Evelyn” material, and Brosnan and St. Clair took it to MGM chairman Chris McGurk. He placed it at UA, with the caveat that the film be completed so that Brosnan would be ready to report for his fourth film as James Bond.

That film, to be directed by Lee Tamahori, is a milestone in the Bond franchise as it marks the 20th film in and the 40th anniversary of the series.

Brosnan’s CAA agents hooked up the financing with First Look Media, whose Robbie Little connected them to Cinerenta, which recently scored a hit at UA with “Jeepers Creepers.” It is the second Irish Dreamtime pic under the MGM/UA banner, after the hit remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

After he directs “Evelyn,” Beresford is set to direct “Reunion” for MGM. Pic is a “Ghost”-type tale about an 1880s couple who lose their daughter but find that another young girl can apparently channel their deceased child’s being. Script was written by Barbara Turner and Susan Busa with a rewrite by Mark Bomback. Arnold Rifkin of Cheyenne will produce.

Beresford is repped by Endeavor.

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