The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Mirage Productions will begin filming
on July 9 in Botswana on The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency based on
Alexander McCall Smith's bestseller.

This marks the first time a major film will be shot entirely in

The project, which is being made for television and is
expected to spawn a television series, is believed to be backed by a
$5m investment from the Republic of Botswana.

Anthony Minghella is directing from a script he co-wrote with Richard
Curtis. Sydney Pollack and Timothy Bricknell are producing for Mirage
along with Amy Moore.

Jill Scott will star as Precious Ramotswe, owner of Botswana's sole
female-owned detective agency who investigates cases and falls in love
with a local garage owner.

Anika Noni Rose, Lucian Msamati, David Oyelowo, Idris Elba, Colin
Salmon, Winston Ntshona, and John Kani round out the key cast.

'The Government of Botswana and indeed the people of Botswana are
delighted to have this opportunity which will certainly enhances our
reputation and hard work to the international community,' Botswana's
Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Onkokame Kitso Mokaila

'Africa, for the first time will be shown in its true warmth and
welcoming spirit. My Government is very proud to be in partnership
with this team, and are certain the partnership will continue for many
years to come as it could help kick-start a film industry in our

'It was crucial for all of the production team that we film in
Botswana,' Minghella said. 'In many ways the novels are a celebration
of a place.

'Our partnership with the Republic means we can create a
unique world featuring Botswana's extraordinary landscapes. But beyond
the beauty of the country is the opportunity - in this film and in the
television series that will follow - to tell stories from Africa about
what's good about Africa.

'We are thrilled to be working with the Republic of Botswana, Anthony
Minghella, Richard Curtis, Sydney Pollack and Amy Moore to showcase
the natural delights of this remarkable country and to bring McCall
Smith's dynamic stories to audiences around the world,' TWC
co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said.

Colin Vaines, TWC's executive vice president of European production
and development, will oversee the project for the company. Film Afrika
is supporting the production in Southern Africa and will provide
location services.