EXCLUSIVE: Starfield also working on projects with Bahman Ghobadi and Ben Hopkins

Charles Dance, whose directorial debut Ladies In Lavender starred Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith, is to direct Now And Then for Paul Raphael’s Starfield Productions.

French actress Fanny Ardant is already attached and the producers are now in advanced discussions with Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry to board the project, billed as a story about “the dangers of first love.” It is based on a William Corlett novel. The screenplay has been written by Malcolm James.

Now And Then is one of a number of new projects from Starfield Productions.

Raphael is also to produce the next feature from Iranian auteur Bahman Ghobadi (whose film No One Knows About Persian Cats screened in Cannes in 2009.) The new project has the working title of Foreign Ducks and is a drama about football in Kurdistan.

Here in Cannes, Raphael has also confirmed further details on his Ben Hopkins’ UK/Turkish co-production A Miracle. David Tennant, who starred in popular BBC sci-fi drama Dr Who, is to star as despairing London school teacher Izzy who sets off to Turkey on an unlikely money making scheme. His job is to bring back a ‘package’, which turns out to be a coffin.

The project is due to shoot in the UK and Turkey at the end of the year for Har Films and Starfield. The two companies previously collaborated on Philippe Aractingi’s Under The Bombs.

Starfield and Har are also collaborating on Where There’s A Will, the latest project from Franco-Lebanese director Aractingi. The film, due to shoot in London, is about a Middle Eastern man who comes to London to claim his inheritance. Here, he is met by his relative who has a secret plan to swindle him.

Also being pushed by Starfield is Marek Losey’s action thriller The Night Climbers, which received MEDIA funding as well as development support from the UK Film Council/BFI. The film is about a daredevil secret society within Cambridge University whose members specialise in climbing the college rooftops and spires by night. On one of their climbs, they meet an urban free runner who recruits them to take part in a heist. Starfield is contemplating shooting in 3D.

A director is expected to be announced shortly for Starfield’s Vikas Swarup adaptation Six Suspects.