Film4 Hunting For Its President Roosevelt

Blimey, you wait for one film with George VI and two come along at the same time. Roger Michell, director of Morning Glory, is casting U.S. actors to star in Hyde Park On Hudson, his movie about the love affair between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Daisy. Producer Kevin Loader tells me he hopes to shoot this year, subject to casting. Written by Richard Nelson, the film revolves around a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen arrive at President Roosevelt’s upstate New York home on the eve of the war. It was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever been to America. Michell is also looking for an actress to play Eleanor Roosevelt. Film4, the movie arm of the UK broadcaster, has been developing the project for some time. It’s part of the reason why it turned down The King’s Speech when it applied to the broadcaster for funding. Katherine Butler, senior commissioning exec at Film4, says: “We already had this George VI project so there was a conflict of interest. Plus, The King’s Speech didn’t quite fit in with Film4’s identity.” That identity is director-led films with distinctive voices that say something about Britain today. Channel 4 found itself in a similar position back in the 1990s when it had two films about people losing their jobs in northern England who band together to rediscover their self-respect: Brassed Off and The Full Monty. In the end, the broadcaster went for Brassed Off.

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