EXCLUSIVE: Helena Bonham Carter is reuniting with Suffragette producer Faye Ward to develop Saint Mazie, the fictional novel by Jami Attenberg based on a real-life character. Scott LaStaiti’s Palantir Group is partnering with Ward’s Fable Pictures on the prospective miniseries, which Clara Brennan (Janis) is adapting.
Bonham Carter, (The Kings Speech, Alice In Wonderland) will produce and star as Mazie Gordon-Phillips, who Joseph Mitchell first wrote about in the New Yorker in 1940. Mazie spent her days selling tickets at a cinema which she eventually inherited, and in her spare time she walked the streets of New York, giving the homeless soap and sips of liquor from her flask. Far from the normal picture of a saint she was foul-mouthed, free-spirited and drank her way through Prohibition. But in her own very quiet way she became a local hero.
This sounds like terrific source material for a high-end mini, with quality elements both in front of and behind the camera. Less than two years after setting up her own company Fable Pictures — having spent the previous decade at Ruby — Faye Ward is firmly establishing herself as one of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic producers. She recently closed a deal with Sony Pictures TV that will see the studio take a minority stake in her company. The Sony deal allows Fable to ramp up its TV activities to go alongside its film projects.
“Mazie is a restless, independent woman who embodies the essence of 1930s New York,” said Ward. “Our story unveils a woman in the middle of her life, a local legend who lifted the spirit of a community and yet barely moved beyond the perimeter of two square miles. She was in love with the streets and the people, she saw beauty in the dirt. It is exciting to think of Helena on screen oozing the spirit of this courageous woman. Clara’s witty and political voice is perfect for Mazie and her world.”
Ward is also producing feature Stan And Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, about Laurel and Hardy’s august days as an iconic if faded act. Jeff Pope writes and co-produces with Jon S. Baird directing. That project is set up at Entertainment One, which sold the film at Cannes. It is set to start shooting by the end of the year.
She is also coming off the back of serving as one of the producers on Netflix’s hugely ambitious $100 million Peter Morgan-created decades-spanning drama series The Crown that explores the inside story of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s post-war prime ministers. The 10-episode first season will premiere on the streaming service this year.
Bonham Carter is coming off the back of Alice Through The Looking Glass and has Bille August’s 55 Steps with Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Tambor coming down the pipeline. She is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant, WME and MGMT Entertainment.