EXCLUSIVE: After The Theory Of Everything garnered five Oscar nomination including Best Picture, writer-producer Anthony McCarten, producer Lisa Bruce and Working Title partners Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have set a 2016 production start and are re-teaming for the epic WWII drama Darkest Hour. Working Title acquired McCarten’s spec script that focuses on Winston Churchill and a make-or-break moment of truth he faced in 1940.
Days into his new job as Prime Minister as Britain was getting pounded and on the verge of losing to Germany, Churchill was under pressure to make a deal with Hitler that would have established Britain as a puppet state of the Third Reich. His army stranded in Dunkirk, Churchill instead summoned the courage to fight on. The film is about his decisions, and the actions and immortal speeches in those critical days that defined his place in history and changed the destiny of the world.
The formalization of this film comes on the 50th anniversary of the passing of Churchill. This WWII flashpoint has been a long fascination for McCarten, who turns to this passion project after spending a decade getting Jane and Stephen Hawking to trust his vision to turn their complicated marriage into a film that has grossed $82 million worldwide on a $15 million budget, won two Golden Globes and received 10 BAFTA nominations to go along with its five Oscar nominations. McCarten, Bruce, Fellner and Bevan are up for Best Picture, and McCarten’s nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar as well. Director James Marsh and the film’s stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are also nominated. McCarten, Bruce, Fellner and Bevan will produce Darkest Hour.
“We aim to present a Churchill you haven’t seen before, a new portrait that shows all his famous strengths but also adds new dimensions, such as the grave doubts he privately harbored, the dark moods that would seize him unexpectedly and his fear of failure, a driving force that is often is left out of any discussion of the man,” McCarten said. “It is enormously exciting to be embarking on another project with Lisa Bruce and the Working Title team.”
Said Bruce: “This big screen portrait of a monumental figure navigating a treacherous moment in time brings forth a story that is stunningly relevant today.”
Add this to a Working Title slate that includes the recently wrapped disaster film Everest with Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightley, the Zac Efron- and Emily Ratajkowski-starrer We Are Your Friends, and the Tom Hardy-starrer Legend.
McCarten is currently adapting for George Clooney and Sony the Nick Davies book Hack Attack: The Inside Story Of How The Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch, marking the scribe’s third project in a row on real-life Brits and events. McCarten and Bruce are repped by ICM Partners.