Lesley Manville, James Norton, Jason Watkins, Simon Callow have joined Diane Keaton And Brendan Gleeson in Hampstead with Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey) directing from a script by Robert Festinger (In The Bedroom). Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae from London-based banner Ecosse Films are producing. Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder’s Cornerstone Films is handling worldwide sales. Motion Picture Capital will fully finance the production.
Hampstead will shoot this year and will be filmed on location. Doubtless hoping to recreate the box office stardust of Notting Hill, another cosmopolitan London neighborhood, the real life Hampstead is an affluent area in North London famous for its Heath, a vast piece of quiet countryside in the middle of the city. Living on the edge of the Heath is American widow Emily Walters (Keaton), who can’t quite focus on the things that need attention, like her lovely old apartment, her finances and even her son. One day while looking out across the Heath from her attic window, she spies a ramshackle hut, which appears to be inhabited by an unkempt man Donald (Gleeson). She witnesses him being attacked by a group of professional thugs. Shocked, she calls the police and watches, through her binoculars, as help arrives. The next day she ventures into the woods in search of the man. Donald has lived quietly and harmoniously on the edge of the Heath for 17 years but now his lifestyle is under threat – his home is the target of property developers who’ve started using heavy-handed tactics to remove him.
The film is inspired by a true story. Keaton is represented by WME, and Gleeson by Teri Hayden of The Agency and Larry Taube of Principal Entertainment. Manville is repped by ARG, The Artists Partnership, Watkins by United Agents, Callow by Dalzell and Beresford.