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Thomas develops Darwin project

Film to be written by Collee, directed by Amiel

LONDON — Producer Jeremy Thomas is planning a movie about Charles Darwin, to be written by John Collee and directed by Jon Amiel.

The project is based on “Annie’s Box,” a biog of Darwin by Randall Keynes, the great-great grandson of the Victorian scientist.

It focuses on the period when Darwin was writing “The Origin of the Species,” his ground-breaking treatise on evolution, while living a family life at Down House in Kent, near London.

“It’s about his relationship with his kids, and also about the extraordinary controversy that his ideas caused. With all the current talk about creationism, this is something I’m very interested in,” Thomas said.

The “Annie” of the title is Darwin’s first daughter, whose death aged 10 left him grief-stricken. With his scientific discoveries leading him toward agnosticism, he was unable to find consolation in belief in an afterlife, but coped with his loss by plunging into his work.

Thomas plans to have the movie ready for release in 2009, the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth. With Collee (“Happy Feet” and “Master and Commander”) currently working on the script, Thomas expects to shoot next year, on location at Down House.

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