×

Cannes: ‘I, Daniel Blake’ Writer, BBC Films, Match Factory Board Carlos Acosta Biopic (EXCLUSIVE)

BBC Films is set to produce a biopic of Cuban ballet superstar Carlos Acosta from “I, Daniel Blake” writer Paul Laverty. Germany’s The Match Factory will handle worldwide sales on the project, titled “Yuli,” and introduce it to buyers in Cannes.

Currently in pre-production, “Yuli” will see the world-renowned dancer star as himself, with two younger Cuban actors playing him at earlier stages of his life. Directed by Spanish filmmaker Iciar Bollain, it is scheduled to shoot in Havana at the end of this year. “Yuli” marks Laverty’s fourth collaboration with Bollain, a relationship that started with 2010’s “Even the Rain.”

Inspired by Acosta’s autobiography “No Way Home,” the film tells the story of his rise from the streets of Havana to the heights of classical ballet, becoming the first black principal guest dancer at the Royal Ballet in London. The film will feature eight contemporary dance pieces that represent key moments in Acosta’s life, to be performed by his Havana-based dance company.

Laverty’s collaborations with British auteur Ken Loach have become a staple of the Cannes Film Festival. Nine of their films have received world premieres in official competition, winning eight prizes, including a Palme d’Or last year, for “I, Daniel Blake,” and in 2006 for “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.” Their 2002 film “Sweet Sixteen” won Laverty Cannes’ best screenplay award.

Bollain’s “Even the Rain” cinematographer Alex Catalan and Academy Award nominated composer Alberto Iglesias have also signed on for “Yuli.” Catalan won a Goya Award for best cinematography for his work on 2014 film “Marshland.” Iglesias has been nominated three times for an Oscar for his original scores to “The Constant Gardener,” “The Kite Runner” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

“Yuli” was developed by BBC Films, which produces alongside the U.K.’s Potboiler Prods. and Spain’s Morena Films. Germany’s Match Factory Prods. and France’s Mandarin are also co-producing.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Our Mothers Review

    Oscars: Belgium Sends Cannes Prizewinner 'Our Mothers' to International Feature Film Race

    Belgian-Guatemalan director Cesar Diaz’s feature debut, “Our Mothers,” will represent Belgium in the International Feature Film category at the Oscars. Represented in international markets by Pyramide, “Our Mothers” world premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week and won the Golden Camera for best first film. “Our Mothers” is set in today’s Guatemala, a country riveted by the [...]

  • La vaca "The Cow"

    Alfredo Castro, Mia Maestro, Leonor Varela Cast in Francisca Alegria’s Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

    SANTIAGO, Chile  —  The much anticipated feature debut of Chilean Francisca Alegria, renowned for her magical short “And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye,” has firmed up its cast and shooting dates. Argentine thesp Mia Maestro (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), Chile’s Leonor Varela (“Dallas,” “Blade 2”), Alfredo Castro (“From Afar,” “Museum”) [...]

  • 210819 Distribusjonsseminar DNF

    Haugesund: Nordic Distribution Panel Analyzes Recent Success Story 'Queen of Hearts'

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  On Wednesday morning, shortly before this year’s New Nordic Films Works in Progress screening was due to begin, a handful of industry veterans sat for a panel that picked up right where last year’s WIP program left off. Presented in collaboration with Europa Distribution, the panel – called “The Value Chain: A [...]

  • L-R Dena Kaplan, Ronny Chieng, Josh

    Rafe Spall Leads Cast of Oscar Nominated Josh Lawson's 'Long Story Short'

    Rafe Spall, whose credits include “The Big Short” and “Shaun of the Dead,” leads the cast of romantic comedy “Long Story Short.” Studiocanal will handle worldwide sales on the film, which starts to shoot on Monday in Sydney, Australia. The movie is written and directed by Josh Lawson, who was Oscar nominated last year for [...]

  • Metro 2033

    Cult Sci-Fi Novel 'Metro 2033' to Be Adapted as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    Russia’s TNT-Premier Studios Company, TV-3 Channel and Central Partnership Film Company – all part of Gazprom Media – have come together to produce a movie based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s sci-fi novel “Metro 2033,” which has also been adapted as a video game. Filming is due to start next year. The Russian premiere of the movie [...]

  • Beforeigners

    'Beforeigners'' Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  HBO Europe’s first Norwegian original series, which debuted Aug. 21 exclusively across HBO’s territories, has garnered rave reviews in the Norwegian press. It is also a perfect fit for HBO’s brand and goal to create bold, smart and author-driven shows. Produced by Endemol Shine’s Norwegian prodco Rubicon TV, “Beforeigners” is helmed by [...]

  • Refugees from the besieged Muslim enclave

    Sarajevo’s True Stories Market: Documenting the Atrocities of War

    Reconciliation and dealing with the tragedies of the Yugoslav Wars has been a major focus of the Sarajevo Film Festival and its CineLink Industry Days event in recent years. The True Stories Market, launched in 2016, aims to connect filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav Wars that spanned 1991 to 2001 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content