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Mike Leigh to Direct Peterloo Massacre Movie

LONDON — Mike Leigh’s next project will look at Peterloo — the 1819 massacre by British government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester, England, when 700 people were injured, and 18 killed.

The film, which will shoot in 2017, will reunite the writer-director with his regular team of collaborators from Thin Man Films, headed by producer Georgina Lowe and cinematographer Dick Pope, recent BAFTA and Oscar nominee for Leigh’s “Mr. Turner.”

“There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo Massacre,” said Leigh. “Apart from the universal political significance of this historic event, the story has a particular personal resonance for me, as a native of Manchester and Salford.”

“Peterloo” will be Leigh’s fourth period feature, following “Topsy-Turvy” and “Vera Drake,” and, most recently, “Mr. Turner,” recipient of four Oscar nominations and four BAFTA nominations. “Mr. Turner” is also Leigh’s biggest box office hit yet, having so far grossed £6.8 million ($10.2 million) in its home territory.

“Peterloo” is currently in development with Film4.

Joining Leigh and Lowe once again will be executive producer Gail Egan. Helen Grearson will be associate producer.

Leigh is currently rehearsing “The Pirates of Penzance” for the English National Opera. The production opens on May 9 at London’s Coliseum Theater.

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