EXCLUSIVE: Maven Pictures has optioned rights to a biography of Winston Churchill’s influential wife Clementine, written by the youngest of their five children Mary Soames, and have set Emmy-winning writer Margaret Nagle to adapt it into a feature film.
Maven principals Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray are partnering with producer Sayoko Teitelbaum on the project, which has the cooperation of the Soames estate. Nagle won one of her two Emmys for adapting the 2005 HBO movie Warm Springs about another influential statesman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his wife Eleanor.
Soames’ book, published in 1979, details her mother’s crucial role in Winston’s political; he often said England winning World War II would have been “impossible without her.” Fiercely independent, Clementine was known for her aid work across both world wars, organizing canteens for munitions workers during WWI and serving as a chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund during WWII as well as chairman of the Fulmer Chase Maternity Hospital for Wives of Junior Officers. She eventually was appointed as Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.
“We see this as a film showing audiences an extraordinary woman whose strength and resilience played a major role in the shaping of a nation,” Styler, Rattray and Teitelbaum said. “It is also a movie about a marriage, and a couple who loved each other, respected each other, fought alongside one another — a couple we can all relate and aspire to, even living in the public eye. We feel Nagle is the perfect writer, with her ability to turn history into drama, to adapt this complex story and to bring Clementine to life onscreen.”
Nagle’s other film credits include penning the 2014 Reese Witherspoon-starrer The Good Lie, while on the TV side she created Side Order of Life and Fox’s Red Band Society and was a writer-producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
The project now joins a Maven slate that includes the Maggie Gyllenhaal-starring The Kindergarten Teacher, which was acquired by Netflix after it bowed at Sundance this year; and a holiday comedy starring Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer set up at Universal.
Nagle is repped by UTA, Lighthouse Management and Media, and Hirsch Wallerstein.