“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” singer Dusty Springfield will be played by Gemma Arterton in “So Much Love.” The film follows the British soul legend’s journey to Memphis to record her career-defining album, “Dusty in Memphis.” Phyllis Nagy, Oscar-nominated for “Carol,” has written the screenplay and will direct.
Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley’s Number 9 Films will produce. Set in 1968, it follows Springfield as she navigates her way through the politics of both the recording studio and Memphis, experiences that went on to shape her politics, musical influences, and relationship with the music business.
“So Much Love” will be Nagy’s feature directorial debut. The project reunites her with Karlsen and Woolley after they worked together on 2015’s “Carol” and 2005’s “Mrs. Harris.” Arterton is also a regular collaborator with Number 9, having starred in “Their Finest” and “Byzantium.”
“Dusty Springfield has long been a hero of mine – an innovative, brilliant artist and a complex, contradictory woman. I can’t wait to bring her to life on screen,” Nagy said. “Elizabeth and Stephen are inspiring producers who advocate fiercely for their filmmakers’ visions. And to collaborate with an artist of Gemma’s caliber – she’s an amazing talent – is a writer-director’s dream come true.”
“I have been an admirer of Dusty Springfield since I was a teenager: her effortless husky voice, the way she conveyed emotion through music, how she helped bring Motown to the U.K.,” Arterton added. “She was generous, witty, mercurial, shy, extrovert and a true English eccentric. I simply cannot wait to play her.”
The “Dusty in Memphis” album was released in 1969. It featured tracks including “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Just a Little Lovin’,” both of which will feature in the film. Number 9 is working with Universal Music on the soundtrack.
Karlsen said the picture would tell Springfield’s never-before-filmed story. “Stephen Woolley and I are proud to follow ‘Carol’ and ‘Colette’ with ‘So Much Love,’ a story that places a woman at its center, and to be reuniting with two great female talents behind and in front of the camera, Phyllis Nagy and Gemma Arterton,” she said.
Rocket Science will handle international sales and launch the film to buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.