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Film News Roundup: Michael Radford to Direct Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy Biopic

In today’s film news roundup, a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy biopic gets a director, MPAA backs the Ghetto Film School, “Victoria’s Voice” is in the works as a film and Freida Lee Mock is honored.

DIRECTOR ATTACHED

Academy Award-nominated writer-director Michael Radford has been tapped to direct the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy biopic, “Sweethearts.”

“Sweethearts,” based on the eponymous biography by Sharon Rich with a screenplay by Rich and Radford, chronicles the off-screen love affair between MacDonald and Eddy. The duo became known as “America’s Singing Sweethearts” during the 1930s and ‘40s when they made eight box office hits together for MGM.

The book, published in 1994, details how interference by MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer triggered a series events that caused them to marry others and self-destruct their film careers. Filming is slated to begin later this year in Spain.

“This unknown tragic love story about two of the biggest Hollywood Stars in the 30’s is utterly fascinating,” said Radford.  “It’s extraordinary that their story has never been told.”

Popular on Variety

Radford is repped by United Agents in the UK, and Link Entertainment.  Pomerance and Major Motion Pictures are repped by APA.

MPAA PARTNERSHIP

The Motion Picture Association of America is backing the Ghetto Film School to support its Roster program ­to identify new directors, writers, producers, executives and below-the-line talent.

“Ghetto Film School is at the forefront of transforming and diversifying the Hollywood creative pipeline,” says John Gibson, of the MPAA. “Their support will strengthen the MPAA and our member studios’ inclusion and outreach efforts. We welcome the opportunity to be their partners, and together, we will ensure a more diverse and inclusive industry for all storytellers.”

Members of the Ghetto Film School Roster fall between the ages of 18-34 and the program is aimed at finding talent in New York and Los Angeles. GFS is a nonprofit founded in 2000 to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers.

PROJECT LAUNCH

Sprockefeller Pictures has bought film rights to David and Jackie Siegel’s “Victoria’s Voice: Our Daughter’s Dying Wish to Share Her Diary and Save Lives” from Momosa Publishing.

The couple was the subject of the 2012 documentary, “The Queen of Versailles.” “Victoria’s Voice” is the tragic story of their 18-year-old daughter’s death in 2015 due to a drug overdose, written in her own words. Sprockefeller plans to adapt the book to a feature film this summer, while the documentary is currently in production.

CHARLES GUGGENHEIM HONOREE

AFI Docs will honor Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock as the 2019 Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree.

Mock’s career includes five Academy Award nominations for her work, including an Oscar for her 1994 film “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision.” The symposium will be held on June 22 at the Arleigh & Roberta Burke Theater at The Navy Memorial with a showing of her upcoming film “Ruth — Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words.”

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