Chlöe Bailey, Olivia Colman and Woody Harrelson will lead a big screen adaptation of “Girl From the North Country,” a Broadway musical featuring Bob Dylan songs.
Conor McPherson, the playwright behind the stage show, is writing and directing the film. “Girl From the North Country” uses Dylan’s expansive music library — including “Forever Young,” “All Along the Watchtower” and “Like a Rolling Stone” — to score a Depression-era story about Midwesterners who cross paths at a turning point in their lives. Despite positive reviews, the musical struggled to sell tickets in its post-COVID run and closed after its months-long stint on Broadway.
Blueprint Pictures is backing the film, with executives Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin serving as producers. CAA Media Finance will represent the film’s domestic sales with Rocket Science launching international sales at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.
Based in 1934 in Duluth, Minn., during the Great Depression, “Girl From the North Country” centers on a group of wayward travelers as their lives intersect in a guesthouse. Things are spiraling out of control for proprietor Nick Laine (Harrelson), whose wife Elizabeth (Colman) is suffering from dementia. All the while, the bank is foreclosing on their home and their adopted daughter Marianne (Bailey) has a closely guarded secret that no one can explain. But when an escaped convict Joe Scott (Tosin Cole) seeks shelter at the guesthouse, a relationship develops between Marianne and Joe that will change everything for everyone forever.
The musical originated at the Old Vic in London and had an off-Broadway run in 2018 at the Public Theater before transferring to Broadway. It has since played in the West End, Toronto and Australia.
“Girl From the North Country” comes with Dylan’s stamp of approval.
“To be associated with Conor is one of the highlights of my professional life,” he said in a statement. “It goes without saying the man is a genius for putting this thing together and I’m thrilled to be a part of the experience. My songs couldn’t be in better hands. The play had me crying at the end. I can’t even say why. When the curtain came down, I was stunned. I really was.”
McPherson called it a privilege to bring Dylan’s songs to life.
“Having Bob Dylan’s trust to create a story using his incomparable songs is a huge privilege which has brought nothing but joy to my world,” said McPherson. “But working with this incredible cast to bring these characters to life is almost beyond imagining. I’m also especially thrilled to be working with Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and the whole Blueprint team who have given cinema audiences some of the greatest movies of recent times.”
Bailey is best known as one half of the musical duo Chloe x Halle and for her work on ABC’s sitcom “Grown-ish” and “Black-ish.” She recently appeared in the feature film “Jane,” starring Melissa Leo. Bailey will next be seen in Will Packer and Tim Story’s film “Praise This,” as well as the Amazon Prime Video series “Swarm” from Donald Glover.
Colman, the Oscar and Emmy winning actor of “The Favourite” and “The Crown,” most recently starred in the Sam Mendes drama “Empire of Light.” In film, she appears next in the musical “Wonka” alongside Timothée Chalamet, as well as Thea Sharrock’s “Wicked Little Letters With Jessie Buckley.” On television, Colman will act in “Great Expectations” and “Secret Invasion.”
Harrelson was recently seen in the Ruben Östlund Palme d’Or-winning satire “Triangle of Sadness.” He has been nominated for three Oscars, most recently for Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” He also has nine Emmys for his work on “True Detective” and “Cheers.” Up next, he’s starring in the Special Olympics comedy “Champions.”
Bailey is repped by CAA. Cole is represented by CAA, Curtis Brown Group, Sherpa Management and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. Colman is repped by CAA, United Agents and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole. Harrelson is represented by 7 Deuce Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham. McPherson is repped by Curtis Brown Group.