The film, set in 1930s London, revolves around a feared theater critic named Jimmy Erskine (Beale), his loyal assistant (Essiedu), a newspaper owner (Firth) who wants to get rid of the critic and an actress (Arterton) who has been devastated by the excoriating theatrical reviews. The critic’s determination to survive ensures that the other characters are caught in a web of blackmail, deceit and murder. Patrick Marber adapted the script from Anthony Quinn’s novel.
“Patrick’s script is one of the sharpest and most entertaining I have ever read,” Tucker said. “It’s no surprise it has attracted such an extraordinary cast, and I can’t wait to bring this urgent story to audiences around the world.”
Executive producers are Mark Gordon and Beth Pattinson for Mark Gordon Pictures, Tom Butterfield and Harry White for Culmination Productions and Patrick Marber. Jolyon Symonds is producing under his Fearless Minds banner. Sony Pictures International Productions will co-produce and distribute the film in the U.K., Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.
The project was unveiled Friday on the final day of the online American Film Market. Harry White is handling the worldwide sale for Culmination Productions. UTA Independent Film Group will co-represent the U.S. rights with Culmination.
Symonds said, “It has been a career highlight to work with Patrick. He has written a truly brilliant and thrilling script and I am delighted to be working with Anand, Mark and our wonderful cast to bring the project to the big screen.”
Firth also stars with Stanley Tucci in the British drama “Supernova,” which will be released in January in the U.S. by Bleecker Street. He won the best actor Academy Award for “The King’s Speech.”
Firth is represented by CAA and Independent Talent Group. Arterton is represented by CAA, Independent Talent Group and attorney Douglas R. Stone. Beale is represented by Dalzell and Beresford and Anonymous Content. Essiedu is represented by Curtis Brown Group and ICM. Marber is represented by Judy Daish Associates and LBI. Tucker is represented by UTA and Curtis Brown Group.