Stephen Frears is currently shooting Florence Foster Jenkins in the UK. Pathé today has released the first look (see below) at Meryl Streep in the eponymous role and Hugh Grant as her partner and manager, St Clair Bayfield. This has been a hot seller for Pathé International since it was unveiled just prior to the AFM and was a buzzy title coming into Cannes. Pathé has retained UK, French and Swiss distribution rights. A U.S. deal is still to come.
The biopic centers on the real-life New York heiress and socialite who obsessively sought a career as a great opera singer, but who lacked any real ability. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Bayfield, an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. When she decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, however, he faced his greatest challenge. Nicholas Martin wrote the screenplay.
The cast also includes Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and Nina Arianda. Florence is produced by Michael Kuhn for Qwerty Films and by Frears’ longtime collaborator, Tracey Seaward. Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan and Qwerty’s Malcolm Ritchie are exec producers.