Principal photography is under way in UK on comedy feature Blithe Spirit, starring Dan Stevens (Beauty And The Beast), Isla Fisher (The Beach Bum), Julian Rhind-Tut (Rush), Emilia Fox (Silent Witness), Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake), James Fleet (Outlander) and Judi Dench (Skyfall). As we revealed yesterday, Leslie Mann (This is 40) has also joined in a lead role.
StudioCanal has acquired the film for the UK with Protagonist also closing several territories in Cannes including Australia/New Zealand (Transmission), Spain (A Contracorriente), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Latin America (Cinepolis), Portugal (NOS Lusomundo), CIS/Baltics (Paradise), Eastern Europe (M2), Greece/Cyprus (Tanweer), Israel (Forum Films), Philippines (Pioneer), Taiwan (Cai Chang), the Middle East (Front Row), South Africa (Empire) and Airlines (Echo Lake).
Edward Hall (Downton Abbey) is directing from Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard and Piers Ashworth’s adaptation of the Noel Coward play about best-selling crime novelist Charles (Stevens) who is struggling with catastrophic writer’s block and a stressful deadline for his first screenplay. His picture-perfect second wife Ruth (Fisher) is doing her best to keep him focussed in the hope of fulfilling her dream of heading to Hollywood.
Charles’ desperate search for inspiration leads him to invite Madame Arcati (Dench), a medium recently exposed as a fraud, to perform a séance in their home. They all get more than they bargained for when Arcati accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife: the fiery and jealous Elvira (Leslie Mann) who embarks on a mission to kill Charles so she can spend eternity with him which leads to an increasingly comical and deadly love triangle.
Producing are James Spring (Fisherman’s Friends), Meg Leonard (Fisherman’s Friends), Nick Moorcroft (Fisherman’s Friends), Hilary Bevan Jones (Pirate Radio), Peter Snell (The Wicker Man), and Toni Pinnolis.
Align, a newly formed LA based production and financing group, is fully financing with additional equity provided by Fred Films. Align CEO Adrian Politowski and SVP of Production Martin Metz are producing on behalf of Align.
Director Edward Hall commented, “I am delighted to be starting principal photography on this new adaptation of Blithe Spirit. The cast and team that have gathered together to realise this colourful and original comedy are testament to the enduring appeal of Noel Coward’s unique story. Elegant, escapist and anarchic, I hope it will lift cinemagoers spirits and leave the troubles of the world behind for a moment as we enjoy afterlife turbulence of a very different kind…”