LONDON — BBC Films has partnered with Robert Shapiro, who was an exec producer on “Empire of the Sun,” to produce the movie adaptation of the book by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen, “The Children of Willesden Lane.” The film tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a brilliant young pianist who fled pre-war Vienna on the Kindertransport for England to start a new life.
In 1938, Lisa’s father has won a ticket on the Kindertransport in a poker game and he and Lisa’s mother face an impossible choice: which of their three daughters will escape the horror of pogrom following the devastation of Kristallnacht. Lisa is chosen, in part, because of her exceptional musical talent, and, before long, finds herself living in a North London boarding house presided over by the charismatic Mrs. Cohen. Surrounded by children who are in the same boat as she is, Lisa begins to see that in her musical gift lies a future for her and some solace for them all.
The screenplay is written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse (“Race,” “Frankie & Alice”), the project will be produced by Shapiro (“Black Beauty”), and executive produced by Christine Langan and Ed Wethered for BBC Films.
A stage production, performed by Lisa Jura’s daughter, Mona Golabek, has recently had a sold out run at the St. James Theatre in London, after sold out runs in New York, Chicago, Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego.