'Mary and Martha' written by Curtis, with Noyce directing

Hillary Swank and Brenda Blethyn have signed on to star in telepic ”Mary and Martha” for HBO.

Phillip Noyce (”Salt”) will direct a script written by Richard Curtis (”The Girl in the Cafe”). The film, which is in pre-production, comes from HBO Films, the BBC, NBC Universal and Working Title Television.

”Mary and Martha” will tell the story of two women who emerge from traumatic family tragedy to forge a unique bond while fighting for the eradication of malaria.

”I’ve long admired Phillip’s work, and we’ve been wanting to work together for years,” Swank said. ”When he shared with me this extraordinary story and I read Richard’s beautiful script, I was inspired by the creative possibilities of working with them and Working Title to tell this remarkable journey of two women from completely different worlds who collided, then forged an unbreakable friendship full of humor and grace.

”I look forward to working with them and the fantastic Brenda Blethyn on this special film.”

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin, Juliette Howell, Hilary Bevan Jones and Lucy Richer are exec producing.

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