Period legal drama Boswell For The Defence has ground to a halt after producers were unable to secure a final tranche of financing for the $14m film ahead of the scheduled start of photography in the UK next week.

Boswell, set up between the UK's Scala Productions, German fund MBP and Australian sales entity Beyond Films, has now been postponed until early next year. Scala's Nik Powell and MBP's Rainer Mockert are executive producing, while Mark Pennell is producing.

MBP's Rainer Mockert told Screen Daily that a 10% finance gap could not be closed ahead of the start of shooting. He said that the producers would this week be assessing the availability of the actors and director Bruce Beresford for time frames next year.

Michael Caine, Michael Gambon and Samantha Morton were set to star in the film, which was gearing up to shoot at the UK's Shepperton Studios and in Australia.

The film, written by Patrick Edgeworth, tells the story of a failed lawyer who defends a group of 18th century British convicts who have arrived home after escaping a penal colony in Australia.

Martin Blaney in Munich contributed to this report