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Saoirse Ronan Starring In World War I Biopic; Simon Curtis Adds New Project to Slate

Written by on May 20, 2012 

Coming out of Cannes — our excellent coverage of which you can (and should) read right hereTHR informs us that Saoirse Ronan has up and taken command of a biopic. The film in question puts a spotlight on Vera Brittain, a young Englishwoman who not only experienced World War I from the nurse’s perspective, but also chronicled those trials in her seminal memoir, Testament of Youth. Along with the standard helping of the wounded, Brittain’s experiences with the war can best be summarized by the incredible losses endured on a personal front — her brother, fiancé, and multiple friends all died in the conflict.

Juliette Towhidi will make her directing debut on the picture, while David Heyman (Harry Potter) will produce through his Heyday Films in conjunction with BBC Films; I’m sure they’ll complete their tasks diligently. Rather, it should be noted that Ronan, the main source of interest, is taking what may very well be one of the first “adult” roles of her entire career — Brittain is 20 at the memoir’s outset — and, being taken with the majority of her work, it’s (understandably) semi-exciting to see take place. If nothing else, Testament of Youth should act as an evolutionary step in her career.

That same THR story goes on to tell us that, in following My Week with Marilyn, director Simon Curtis will partner with the aforementioned BBC Films on another historical picture, The Golden Lady. (There’s no word on if this will proceed or follow his planned effort, Click to Connect, but that should be decided in the relatively near future, I imagine.) The Alexi Kaye Campbell-scripted feature centers on Maria Altmann, a woman who enlisted the help of attorney Randy Schoenberg to find and recover priceless Gustav Klimt paintings that had been taken by Nazis — some of which were portraits of her own family. Curtis and producer David Thompson (of Origin Pictures), meanwhile, will try and find Oscars in their own quest.

Have BBC Films made strong choices on what to back?

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