Martin Scorsese and Initial Entertainment Group’s Graham King are going after their own queen.
Duo are reteaming to produce “The Young Victoria,” which will chronicle the early life of the famed British monarch. Canadian helmer Jean Marc Vallee will direct from a script by Academy Award-winning scribe Julian Fellowes.
Indie project was introduced to King by Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. She provided her unique insights into the lively Victoria, who reigned for 63 years until her death in 1901. Fergie is attached to produce, along with Tim Headington.
For now, “Young Victoria,” which Initial will finance, is without a studio. King has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, while Scorsese has a new producing/directing deal with Paramount.
Under that pact, Par has the option to own half of any movie Scorsese directs or produces elsewhere, as well as co-distribute.
King, who is British, has a well-established relationship with Scorsese, having produced “The Departed,” “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York.”
“Young Victoria” will focus on the first, often turbulent, years of the monarch’s rule — she became queen at 18 — and her legendary romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Devastated by her husband’s death in 1861, she wore black for the rest of her life and remained largely secluded.
“We all think we know Queen Victoria from the latter part of her life, but in fact she was an amazing, dynamic, romantic personality from a very early age that is largely unknown,” King said. “I had been searching for a British project for many years, so I am just thrilled to bring her story to life.”
Project was announced just as King headed to London for the British Academy of Film & Television Awards, where “The Departed” is up for picture and director, among other prizes.
Also up for picture is Stephen Frears’ “The Queen,” toplining Helen Mirren. The British film has made more than $46 million at the U.S. box office, with a worldwide total of around $90 million.
Vallee’s film credits include “Black List” and “C.R.A.Z.Y.”
Fellowes’ writing credits include “Gosford Park” and “Vanity Fair.”