Ayear after Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver committed to the project, SnowCake has finally come together.

UKproducers Andrew Eaton and Gina Carter have set up the drama as a UK-Canadianco-production with Niv Fichman, producer of The Red Violin.

FortissimoFilm Sales is selling worldwide rights,while a deal is being finalised with support body the UK Film Council'sPremiere Fund. Director Marc Evans is now in Canada preparing to start shootingnext month.

First-timewriter Angela Pell, the wife of actor-comedian Steve Coogan's business partnerHenry Normal, wrote 'casting: Alan Rickman' when she sent out the script a yearago. Rickman liked it immediately and sent it to Sigourney Weaver, his co-starin Galaxy Quest, who committed after just four days.

"Whenyou read a name of the front, it's hard to imagine anyone else in therole," said Carter. "We were terribly nervous meeting Alan because wehad nowhere else to go. We had allocated an hour for the meeting to try topersuade him, but he walked in and said, 'if this was a house I would ask youto take it off the market.'"

Butcasting was the least of the filmmakers' problems as changes in UK taxfinancing rules blew a hole in the budget. Carter and Eaton - who worked withCoogan on Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People and TristramShandy - had been counting on 25% of the budget from tax money. They had topatch up the budget with a sale and leaseback deal and Canadian soft money.

"Theproblem was mostly about being able to make it for the right level ofbudget," said Eaton. "When you lose 10%, it's a big difference."

Thescript revolves around the relationship of Rickman and Weaver's characters. Heis traumatised after being involved in a fatal car accident; she is a complexsingle mother with autism.

"It'snot about autism per se, but I would say it maybe tries to show you that peoplewith this condition are maybe not that comfortable in our world," Weavertold one online site.

Carteradded: "Anyone who has ever readit has really loved it. It's very fresh. Angela hasn't been in years and yearsof script writing courses; her characters have a type of innocence."