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Maggie Smith’s ‘Lady in the Van’ Gets December Release in U.S.

Sony Pictures Classics has set an awards-qualifying December release in the U.S. for “The Lady in the Van,” starring Maggie Smith.

The film will premiere as a special presentation at the Toronto Film Festival.

The Lady in the Van” is a film version of a British play that starred Smith. The movie is directed by Nicholas Hytner, who also directed the play. Producers are Damian Jones, Kevin Loader and Hynter.

The film is a TriStar production and tells the true story of playwright Alan Bennett’s strained friendship with Mary Shepherd (Smith), an eccentric woman who parked her broken-down van in Bennett’s London driveway and lived there for 15 years.

Alex Jennings plays Bennett. Frances de la Tour, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Jim Broadbent and James Corden also star.

The film is Hytner’s first directorial outing after ending his decade at the head of the British National Theatre. He and Bennett previously collaborated on “The Madness of King George” and “The History Boys.”

Smith has been nominated for six Oscars and won for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and “California Suite.”

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