Odessa Young (“Shirley,” “Assassination Nation,” “A Million Little Pieces”), Josh O’Connor (“The Crown,” “Emma,” “Gods Own Country”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite,” “The Crown”) and Colin Firth (“1917,” “A Single Man,” “The King’s Speech”) will star in “Mothering Sunday” for director Eva Husson (“Girls of the Sun,” “Bang Gang – A Modern Love Story”). Rocket Science is handling sales.
Alice Birch (“Normal People,” “Succession,” “Lady Macbeth”) penned the screenplay from the bestselling novel by Graham Swift (“Shuttlecock,” “Waterland,” “Last Orders”).
Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley’s Number 9 Films (“Carol,” “Colette”) will produce the film, with financing from Film4 and Ingenious. The film has been developed with the support of Film4 and the BFI awarding National Lottery funding. It will shoot on location in the U.K. this Autumn.
The project has already attracted a stellar set of head of departments with Sandy Powell (“The Irishman,” “Carol,” “The Favourite”) on board as costume designer, cinematographer Jamie Ramsay (“Noughts + Crosses,” “Moffie”), make-up designer Nadia Stacey (“The Favourite”), production designer Helen Scott (“A Very English Scandal,” “Wuthering Heights”) and editor Emilie Orsini (“The Party,” “Girls of the Sun”).
The film is set in 1924 at Beechwood, England. Jane Fairchild, a maid in the Niven household, has the day off to celebrate Mothering Sunday while Mr. and Mrs. Niven attend a lunch to celebrate the engagement of their neighbor’s only remaining son, Paul, to Emma Hobday. The Nivens have lost their own sons to the war and rejoice at the prospect of an engagement.
Jane rejoices at her freedom on an unseasonably hot, beautiful spring day. But, she has no mother to go to. For almost seven years she has – joyfully and without shame – been Paul’s lover.
Like the Nivens, Paul belongs to England’s old money aristocracy, whereas Jane was orphaned at birth. With the house conveniently empty, they can finally meet in Paul’s bedroom for the first time. Today will be their last as lovers. It is also the day that will mark the beginning of Jane’s transformation as the story unfolds through the hours of clandestine passion.
“It truly felt like the planets aligned when this wonderful screenplay, ‘Mothering Sunday,’ somehow found its way to me,” Husson said in a statement. “Alice Birch seemed to whisper in my ear, and I felt everything I’d done so far prepared me for this specific story. It was a culmination of all that I am obsessed with in life: writing, sensuality, and pure cinema. I finished the script in tears, not from sadness, but because it cracked me open, like the most honest works do.”
Husson’s feature debut “Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)” premiered in competition at the Toronto Film Festival. Her follow up was the Palme d’Or nominated “Girls of the Sun.”