The Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”) film was written by Richard Bean (“One Man, Two Guvnors”) and Clive Coleman and is based on a true story.
It follows a 60 year-old London cab driver, Kempton Bunton (Broadbent), who in 1961 stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery, the only robbery in the museum’s history. Bunton sent ransom notes saying he would return the painting on condition that the British government invested more in care for the elderly. But the full story did not emerge until 50 years later.
Mirren plays Bunton’s wife, and Whitehead will play his son. The film will be produced by Nicky Bentham (“Moon”). It is a Neon Films production for Pathé, Ingenious Media and Screen Yorkshire. Principal photography starts in January.
Pathé will distribute “The Duke” in the U.K., France and Switzerland. It is also handling worldwide sales and will be presenting it to buyers at the American Film Market. The film’s exec producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé; Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media; and Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire.