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Colin Firth, James Marsh Team on Donald Crowhurst Story

Studiocanal. Blueprint Pictures, BBC Films back tale of amateur round-the-world yatchman

Rolling off “The Theory of Everything,” James Marsh (“Man on a Wire”) is now officially attached to direct a film based on another singular British personality, fated amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst. Colin Firth stars in the story of Crowhurst’s desperate attempt to win the first round of the Golden Globe Yacht Race in 1968.

Euro film-TV group Studiocanal, Blueprint Pictures and BBC Films produce from a project developed by Christine Langan for BBC Films and Studiocanal, which will finance the untitled drama

Studiocanal will sell the project at the European Film Market.

Pete Czernin, Graham Broadbent and pic’s screenwriter Scott Z. Burns produce, alongside Nicolas Mauvernay and Jacques Perrin of Galatee. Studiocanal will distribute in the five territories where it operates direct distribution operations: the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

It is not hard to appreciate Marsh’s attraction to Donald Crowhurst’s extraordinary story. Like Philippe Petit, whose walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center was recounted in “Man on a Wire,” which won Marsh an Academy Award for best documentary, Crowhurst faced a hugely daunting task, entering the Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, where sailors competed in round-the-world nonstop single-handed sail, despite never having sailed in a trimaran until several weeks before the race. Unlike Petit or Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” Crowhurst faced overwhelming odds, and failed, but in a manner that remained engraved on the collective British psyche.

The film, untitled, will initiate principal photography this spring.

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