Principal photography has started, producers announced Tuesday. “The Chaperone,” based on Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel, is scripted by Julian Fellowes, directed by Michael Engler, and will air on PBS stations nationwide after its initial theatrical run.
McGovern, who is also a producer, optioned the novel and worked with Fellowes to adapt it for the big screen. McGovern portrays a woman whose life is changed forever when she chaperones a young and soon to be famous Louise Brooks — played by Richardson — to New York in the early 1920s.
Brooks, an icon of the 1920s for popularizing the bob haircut, would go on to star in 25 films, including “Pandora’s Box,” “Diary of a Lost Girl,” and “Miss Europe” before retiring in 1938.
Other cast members include Victoria Hill, Campbell Scott (“House of Cards”), Geza Rohrig, Blythe Danner and Miranda Otto. The film is produced by PBS Masterpiece in association with Rose Pictures, Hamilton Entertainment and Anonymous Content.
The project was unveiled in May just prior to the start of the Cannes Film Festival, where Arclight Films launched international sales.
Besides McGovern, producers on the project are Victoria Hill, Greg Clark, Luca Scalisi, Rose Ganguzza, Kelly Carmichael, and Gary Hamilton. Executive producers include Rebecca Eaton, Andrew Mann, Ying Ye, Mike Gabrawy, Ruzanna Keyegan, Simon Curtis, Eli Selden, Adam Shulman and Julian Fellowes.
Richardson also starred in “The Edge of Seventeen” with Hailee Steinfeld. McGovern played Lady Grantham in the six seasons of “Downton Abbey,” and was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. The series aired on PBS in the U.S.