EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off her second BAFTA win last night for British drama Help, Killing Eve and The Last Duel star Jodie Comer has found her next project in the shape of feature thriller The End We Start From, which will be a hot package at next week’s Cannes market.
Set amid an environmental crisis that sees London submerged by flood waters, the feminist survival story focuses on a young family torn apart in the chaos. Comer will play a mother who with her newborn child tries to find a way home, navigating the most challenging and apocalyptic start to motherhood.
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Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Megan Hunter (the 2017 book was described by the FT as reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road), the female-fronted project boasts an exciting combination of rising and established creatives and producers.
BAFTA winner Mahalia Belo (The Long Song) will direct from a script by Alice Birch, the playwright and screenwriter who also is a writer and story editor on HBO smash Succession. Producers are SunnyMarch’s Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland (The Mauritanian) and Hera Pictures’ Liza Marshall (Temple) alongside Sophie Hunter and Amy Jackson (The Nest).
Anton and BBC Film will co-finance. Executive producers are Benedict Cumberbatch, Comer, Anton’s Sébastien Raybaud and Cecile Gaget (Greenland), and BBC Film’s Eva Yates (After Love).
Cecile Gaget will launch global sales on the film in Cannes. UTA Independent Film Group will rep the U.S. sale. Production is scheduled to start in August.
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Anton and Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch recently announced a development and production agreement for a slate of high-end features, with Anton acquiring a minority share in SunnyMarch. The End We Start From will be the first project under the agreement.
Producers Clarke, Marshall and Ackland stated: “The End We Start From is very close to our hearts. Megan’s heart-wrenching novel, and Alice’s wonderful adaptation, present a story about motherhood, separation, social and environmental upheaval, and those primal instincts in us which draw moments of joy and inspiration out of the chaos. We are incredibly excited to have Mahalia and Jodie lead this talented creative team in making what we know will be a resonant, riveting film.“
Belo is best known for C4 drama Ellen, for which she won a BAFTA, BBC and Netflix’s Requiem and BBC’s The Long Song, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Director.
Playwright and screenwriter Birch wrote the screenplay for William Oldroyd’s critical hit Lady Macbeth and has written on Succession, Normal People and the upcoming Sally Rooney adaptation Conversations With Friends. She is showrunner on the upcoming Amazon/Annapurna series Dead Ringers starring Rachel Weisz.
Birch is represented by UTA, United Agents and attorney Nelson Davis. Benedict Cumberbatch and SunnyMarch are represented by UTA, Conway van Gelder Grant, and attorneys Sloane Offer Weber & Dern.
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