Sony Nabs Rights to Bruce Beresford’s ‘Ladies in Black’

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has secured global distribution rights to “Ladies in Black,” a female-skewing Australian drama. Bruce Beresford, director of “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Tender Mercies,” is set to direct.

The film is an adaptation, penned by Beresford and Sue Milliken, of Madeleine St John’s 1993 best-selling novel “The Women in Black.” Set in 1959, it tells the coming-of-age story of a suburban schoolgirl, who, while waiting for her final high school exam results, takes a summer job at a large department store. There, a group of saleswomen open her eyes to a world beyond her sheltered existence.

The project has secured production investment funding from Screen Australia. It is expected to go into production in Sydney and surrounding New South Wales in September, immediately after Beresford completes work on Cher-starring TV movie “Flint,” for Sony Pictures Television and Lifetime Television.

Production of “Ladies in Black” is by Allanah Zitserman and Samson Productions’ Milliken. Executive producers will include Morris Ruskin of the Ruskin Company. It will be made in association with Screen NSW, and with support from the University of Sydney.

“This wonderful female-character-driven Australian story has the potential to appeal to audiences all around the globe,” said Stephen Basil-Jones, managing director of Sony Pictures Releasing (Australia).

“‘Ladies in Black’ is a uniquely Australian story about a seminal point in our history as a multicultural nation, and has already proven hugely popular with audiences as both a novel and a musical,” said Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia.

“I’ve been obsessed with making a film of Madeleine St. John’s ‘The Women in Black’ since I first read the novel about 15 years ago,” said Beresford.

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