Eyre to helm ‘Iris’ for Sony

Dench may topline pic

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures is in final talks with Richard Eyre to helm and co-write “Elegy for Iris,” an adaptation of the John Bayley memoir about his marriage to novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch.

Eyre, artistic director of Britain’s National Theater for nine years, most recently directed Judi Dench to a Tony Award in David Hare’s “Amy’s View” on Broadway last season. And while no talks have yet commenced with Dench, insiders familiar with the project say that she is very much attached to “Iris.”

The pic, to be co-written by Eyre and Charles Wood (“An Awfully Big Adventure”),would mark the first time Eyre has helmed a feature for an American studio.

The Brit legit director has helmed 23 of the 189 productions staged under his administration of the National.

“Iris” covers Bayley and Murdoch’s meeting over 40 years ago while teaching together at Oxford, their marriage, and her subsequent struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Pic will be supervised by Sony Pictures Entertainment’s chairman John Calley, as well as Col’s exec veepee of production Michael Costigan and Jackie Wollman, director of creative affairs.

Eyre is repped in North America by Michael Peretzian at the William Morris Agency, and in the U.K. by Judy Daish at Judy Daish Associates Ltd.

Dench is repped by Victoria Belfrage at Julian Belfrage Associates in the U.K.; Wood is repped by Nick Harris at AP Watt.

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