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Richardson to star in ‘Tom & Viv’

Golden Globe winner Miranda Richardson has signed to star in “Tom and Viv,” a movie based on the tragic love affair between American poet T.S. Eliot and his first wife.

This is the first role Richardson has committed to since she won the Golden Globe as best actress in a comedy for “Enchanted April.”

The British actress also has attracted critical raves for her heavyweight performances in Neil Jordan’s “The Crying Game” and Louis Malle’s “Damage.”

She won the best supporting actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle for her work on the three films, and is likely to receive an Oscar nomination today for her work in at least one of the films.

“Tom and Viv” is a co-production between IRS Media and the U.K.’s New Era Entertainment, budgeted at about $ 7 million. Principal photography begins in England in June.

Described by its producers as a “tragic, passionate and true love story,” but “neither downbeat nor highbrow,” it explores the volatile relationship between Eliot and his first wife, Viv, the classic woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

IRS Media is handling all North American rights, while France’s UGC-DA is handling foreign sales. The film also has an equity investment from British Screen Finance, the semi-public funding body.

Brian Gilbert (“Not Without My Daughter,””Vice Versa”) will direct from a screenplay by Michael Hastings, based on his original stage play, and Adrian Hodges. Marc Samuelson, Peter Samuelson and Harvey Kass will produce, with Paul Colichman and Miles Copeland as executive producers.

The role of Eliot has yet to be cast.

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