Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd is to make a $20m movie about Nobel prize winner Professor Muhamad Yunus, the so-called “banker to the poor”.

The film is being scripted by Francesca Marciano. It will dramatise Yunus’ life and the lives of those transformed by his groundbreaking work.

Former Head of BBC Films, David Thompson - whose credits include Cannes competition films Bright Star and Fish Tank - will be producing through his new production company, Origin Pictures.

He will work alongside producers Christian de Boisredon, Vivian Norris de Montaigu and Nicolas Jourdier, who initiated the project and collaborated closely with Professor Yunus to bring this project into fruition.

Yunus was the first economist to win the Nobel peace prize in 2006. His idea began in Bangladesh with a loan of just $27 to 42 people in 1976. His Grameen bank has since loaned over $6 billion in Bangladesh and his work has been duplicated in over 100 countries. By lending predominantly to women in poor communities, Yunus has managed to  foster a remarkable spirit of collective responsibility that has underpinned the bank’s success (the bank’s 98.5% repayment rate is far higher than that of any commercial banks).

“Yunus has thrown down the gauntlet to all of us. How to live our lives. If the poorest of the poor can transform their worlds, what excuse is there for the rest of us? This is an astonishing story of not taking ‘no’ for an answer,” Phyllida  Lloyd commented of a project that promises to be very different in tone to Mamma Mia! The producers are aiming to shoot in 2010.”