‘Darwin’ evolves at Catch 23

Price to pen script for company's second Newell project

British filmmaker Mike Newell has signed on to develop and direct period romance “Mrs. Darwin” for Catch 23 Entertainment.

Newell will oversee development with Catch 23 U.K., the company’s London-based film production and finance venture. Tim Rose Price (“The Serpent’s Kiss,” “Rapa Nui”) will pen the screenplay for “Darwin,” brought in as a pitch through Catch 23’s relationship with ICM U.K.

“Darwin” tells the story of the battle Charles Darwin wages with the world, through the eyes of his wife, Emma. A devout woman who loves Charles, Emma fears for his immortal soul as his pioneering theory of evolution threatens the existence of God.

Rachel Wood, head of development for Catch 23 U.K., Suzanne Warren, senior VP of production, and Cindy Tang, newly promoted director of production and development, will oversee development of “Mrs. Darwin” for Catch 23. Catch 23 was represented in the deal by Lyndsey Posner of ICM U.K.

“I am a huge fan of Mike Newell’s work, and we are very pleased by the fruitful relationship we have established with ICM U.K., as well as the great work Rachel Wood is doing for us in London,” said Robert Sturm, chairman of Catch 23.

“Mike and Tim researched the extraordinary relationship between Emma and Charles Darwin after his return from the Beagle and developed the story over many a pint at a variety of Gloucestershire’s finest drinking establishments,” Catch 23 prexy Jeremy Barber said. “Despite its origins, I am certain this project will garner great critical acclaim and further validates our decision to establish a U.K. presence.”

Pic is the second project Catch 23 is developing with Newell. Director also is working on an “Untitled John Milius Western Project” with producer Adam Fields.

Newell, who is attached to direct Julia Roberts in “Mona Lisa Smile” for Shoelace Prods. and Revolution Studios, is repped by ICM.

Newell directed the international hit “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” as well as “Enchanted April,” “An Awfully Big Adventure,” “Into the West,” “Donnie Brasco” and “Dance With a Stranger.”

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