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Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in Humanitarian Drama ‘Seacole’

Gugu Mbatha-Raw will star in the humanitarian drama “Seacole,” based on the life of pioneering Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole, Variety has learned exclusively.

Charlie Stratton will direct from a screenplay he’s written with Oscar-nominated Dianne Houston (“Tuesday Morning Ride”) and Marnie Dickens. The project is to be co-produced and financed by Epic Match Media and UMedia. Producers are Brunson Green (“The Help”), Hilary Shor, Peter Bevan (“Mandy”), Karl Richards, and Billy Peterson of Epic Match.

The Exchange will introduce “Seacole” to buyers at next month’s European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival.

Seacole became known during the Crimean War for her care of wounded British soldiers, described in her 1857 autobiography “Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.” The film will focus on the  action on the Crimean battlefield, Seacole’s desire to work with Florence Nightingale, and her dedication to care for the British soldiers during and after the war.

“Mary Seacole was a pioneering humanitarian who led a courageous life with kindness and charisma,” said Mbatha-Raw. “I am deeply inspired by her tenacity and grit and am excited for her place in history to be celebrated in this film.”

British actress Mbatha-Raw broke out as the lead in the 2013 historical drama “Belle.” Her credits include “Black Mirror,” “Beyond the Lights” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

“I have been a fan of Gugu’s since I first saw her on stage as Ophelia in Hamlet with Jude Law,” Stratton said. “She has this elusive delicacy mixed with a gale-force power that makes her perfect for the role of Mary Seacole.”

Mbatha-Raw is represented by Anonymous Content, CAA, Curtis Brown Group and Hansen, Jacobson, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Keller.

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