×

BBC Films Boards Alan Bennett Memoir ‘The Lady in the Van’

LONDON — BBC Films has boarded “The Lady in the Van,” which reunites the team behind “The History Boys.” The pic, which is an adaptation of playwright Alan Bennett’s memoir, will be directed by Nicholas Hytner. Producers are Kevin Loader, Damian Jones and Hytner.

Pic stars Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings, who plays Bennett. It is based on Bennett’s experiences with Miss Shepherd, a vagrant who parked her decrepit van outside his house and stayed for 15 years.

BBC Films also has revealed that it will be producing “City of Tiny Lights” with Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto. Starring Riz Ahmed and Roshan Seth, the film will be directed by Pete Travis, and adapted by Patrick Neate from his novel of the same name.

Ahmed will play cynical London private eye Tommy Akhtar, hired by Melody Chase (Cush Jumbo) to find her missing friend. His journey to uncover the truth leads him deep into the criminal underbelly of modern London, unlocking shocking secrets from his own past.

Also on the BBC Films slate is “Woman in Gold,” which is being directed by Simon Curtis (“My Week with Marilyn”), and starring Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruehl. Mirren will play real-life heroine Maria Altmann, a Jewish WWII survivor who fought the Austrian government to retrieve several paintings by Gustav Klimt that were stolen from her family during WWII. Pic shoots this month in the U.K.

Matthew Warchus’ “Pride,” which was backed by BBC Films, will close Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. The ensemble cast includes Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott and Paddy Considine. The pic is an uplifting British comedy drama inspired by a true story set in the summer of 1984 about a group of gay and lesbian activists who decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.

Other projects on the slate include “London Road,” “Testament of Youth,” “Far From The Madding Crowd,” “Suite Française,” “A Little Chaos,” “Brooklyn” and “A Slight Trick of the Mind.”

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, said: “Our ambition is to be a creative hub enabling exciting British filmmakers to tell their stories. From ‘Pride’ at Cannes through to today announcing ‘The Lady in the Van’ with Alan Bennett, BBC Films nurtures a comprehensive range of films from inception, through production, cinema release and to their eventual home on BBC Two.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Bombay Rose,' Venice Premiere, Debuts Trailer

    'Bombay Rose,' Venice Film Festival Premiere, Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer for animated film “Bombay Rose,” which will have its world premiere opening Venice Critics’ Week on Aug. 28. The film, written and directed by Gitanjali Rao, will also play in the Contemporary World Cinema strand at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 7. “Bombay Rose” is [...]

  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu speaks during a

    Alejandro G. Inarritu on the Need to Preserve Poetry in Cinema

    Alejandro G. Iñárritu is urging the film industry to guard against the influence of television storytelling in cinema, a looming crisis he said could strip film of the beauty and poetry that make it a unique artistic form of expression. Attending the Sarajevo Film Festival to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award, the Oscar-winning [...]

  • Levan Akin on the Impact of

    Levan Akin on the Impact of ‘And Then We Danced’

    Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin is already enjoying success with “And Then We Danced,” his acclaimed social drama about a young dancer struggling with the confines of tradition and forbidden love. The film, which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, went on to win three top awards at the Odessa Film Festival, including best film and [...]

  • Brian Oliver'Black Mass' Premiere, Toronto International

    'Rocketman' Producer Developing Comedy 'Inward Bound' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures, the company that co-financed and produced “Rocketman,” is developing a female ensemble comedy “Inward Bound.” The announcement comes on the heels of Universal’s “Good Boys” becoming the first R-rated comedy to open in first place at the North American box office  in three years, as well as the biggest opening [...]

  • Heroic Losers

    Watch Clip from Ricardo Darin’s Toronto-Bound ‘Heroic Losers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to an exclusive clip and poster from Toronto Special Presentation “La Odisea de los Giles” (“Heroic Losers”) which, starring Ricardo Darín, has just scored in is native Argentina a standout opening weekend of Peso 58.8 million ($1.1 million) and 316,300 admissions for Warner Bros. Pictures. With “Heroic Losers” having released [...]

  • "The Hunt"

    'The Hunt' Director Breaks Silence on Film's Cancellation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Craig Zobel, director of “The Hunt,” hopes that the controversial political thriller will eventually be seen by audiences, and argues that its message has been misrepresented in media reports. Zobel spoke for the first time since Universal canceled the film’s release on Aug. 10, in the wake of a series of mass shootings and amid [...]

  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight

    Mark Damon's DCR Finance Receives $150 Million for Financing Georgia Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Damon’s DCR Finance Corp., co-headed with financer Adi Cohen, has received a $150 million investment from Go Media Productions for Georgia projects, Variety has learned exclusively. Damon, whose credits include “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” made the announcement Monday with Cohen. The deal calls for Atlanta-based Go Media Productions to join a private placement as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content