EXCLUSIVE: Tim Grady and Jeff Lipsky’s New York-based Adopt Films has acquired Effie Gray, the period drama penned by Emma Thompson. Dakota Fanning stars as the eponymous character in the biopic of the 19th century Scotswoman who married critic and author John Ruskin as a teenager only to see their six-year relationship finally annulled with Gray still a virgin. She later wed celebrated pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. For Millais, Gray bore eight children and became his muse (along with her younger sister Sophie).

The company plans an early spring 2015 release.

Julie Walters plays Ruskin’s baleful, controlling mother, and David Suchet is Ruskin’s feckless, enabling father. Thompson, Tom Sturridge, Greg Wise, Claudia Cardinale, James Fox, Derek Jacobi and Robbie Coltrane round out the cast.

Richard Laxton (Burton & Taylor) directs from Thompson’s first original screenplay. (She won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for 1995’s Sense And Sensibility.) The technical crew includes Andrew Dunn (Gosford Park), who shot the film in Scotland, London and Venice; editor Kate Williams; production designer James Merifield (Little Dorrit); art director Juliana Overmeer; costume designer Ruth Myers (LA Confidential); and composer Paul Cantelon (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly).
Effie Gray is produced by Andreas Roald and Donald Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld says, “To bring Effie Gray across America, I cannot think of more spirited, tenacious and hardworking distributors out there; in an age of faceless corporate Hollywood, Grady and Lipsky still bring true personality and passion to the motion picture business.”

Grady and Lipsky added: “Effie Gray is unquestionably the most visually stunning British period piece in recent memory. Its theme of female empowerment is most timely and delicately embroidered within a powerfully moving biopic. It is a great honor, indeed, to collaborate with Donald, Richard, Emma, and Dakota on their wildly impressive labor of love.”

Adopt Films recently released the Oscar-nominated thriller Omar by Hanu Abu-Assad, and has this year’s Palme d’Or winner, and Turkish submission for the Foreign Language Oscar, Winter Sleep on deck for December 19.