SPC outbids rivals for graphic novel adaptation

LONDON — Sony Pictures Classics has continued its spending spree by acquiring British helmer Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe” for the U.S. and Latin America.

Deal is believed to be in the mid-seven figures.

Sony Classics beat a handful of other bids for the pic, a live-action adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel “Tamara Drewe.”

Up-and-coming Brit starlet Gemma Arterton will play Drewe, a young newspaper columnist who returns to the country village of her youth and stirs up dark passions among the locals (Daily Variety, Sept. 3).

Also cast are Dominic Cooper, Roger Allam, Luke Evans, Bill Camp and Tamsin Greig.

Simmonds’ graphic novel, a collation of comicstrips published in U.K. newspaper the Guardian, is a modern reimagining of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel “Far From the Madding Crowd.” Moira Buffini has adapted the script.

Ruby Films, BBC Films and West End Films are producing. West End Films, which is also financing the pic, is handling international sales.

Public sector funding org the U.K. Film Council also invested in the movie’s development.

Ruby Films co-topper Alison Owen receives a producer credit with Tracey Seaward (“The Queen”). Paul Trijbits, Scott Rudin, Sharon Harel and BBC Films’ Christine Langan all receive exec producer credits.

Sony Pictures Classics co-toppers Michael Barker and Tom Bernard first worked with Frears in 1986, when they released the director’s theatrical debut, “My Beautiful Laundrette,” when they were at Orion Classics.

Lensing begins Sept. 21 on location in the U.K. and at Pinewood Studios.

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