EXCLUSIVE: Best Actress Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan will star in On Chesil Beach for Number 9 Films’ Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley. Dominic Cooke (The Hollow Crown) will make his feature directorial debut with the adaptation of the acclaimed Ian McEwan novel. This is another classy project for Number 9, which is coming off the back of Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and have several good-looking projects in the pipeline. For the much-in-demand Ronan, it reunites her with Karlsen and Woolley after they worked together on vampire pic Byzantium. Production is set to start in the fall.
Set in England in 1962, On Chesil Beach follows Florence (Ronan), one half of two young lovers, in the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives. It is a tender story that shows how the entire course of a life can be changed – by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.
“It’s an extremely exciting prospect to be reunited with Saoirse Ronan on such a beautiful and heartbreaking project,” said Number 9 Films’ Karlsen and Woolley. “This will continue Number 9 Films’ tradition of high quality and prestigious adaptions that our production company is now renowned for.”
The company is having a banner year, with Jane Goldman’s adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s The Limehouse Golem directed by Juan Carlos Medina and starring Olivia Cooke and Bill Nighy, as well as Gaby Chiappe’s adaptation of Lissa Evans’ Their Finest Hour And A Half directed by Lone Scherfig starring Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin in the pipeline. Their gorgeous adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Carol has received a load of nominations throughout awards season, including five Golden Globes noms, nine BAFTA noms, six Independent Spirit Award noms as well as six Oscar nominations.
Ronan, also an Oscar nominee for her lead performance in John Crowley’s Brooklyn, will next be seen on stage starring in The Crucible on Broadway. She is also set to star in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, which will be produced by Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill.
Ronan is repped by CAA and Macfarlane Chard.
Cooke is one of the UK’s most exciting theater and TV directors. He won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for best director for his revival of The Crucible while working at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also received plaudits for his time as artistic director at the Royal Court Theatre. His most recent TV production, The Hollow Crown, stars Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale. It is a miniseries of adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays: Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V for Neal Street Productions, Sam Mendes’ formerly owned production company acquired by All3Media in a big deal last March.
Cooke is repped by Sally Hope Associates and UTA.