London-based Bankside Films has taken worldwide rights to The Door, the new feature from Academy Award-winning director Istvan Szabo. It will star Helen Mirren.

Bankside will be offering the project to distributors for the first time at AFM this week.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Magda Szabo (no relation to the director) which has been translated into 36 languages and won France’s Femina Literary Prize in 2003. The film tells the story of a writer and her housekeeper who develop an enduring relationship. Mirren will play the role of Emerenc, the housekeeper.

The rest of the cast is yet to be announced. The novel has been adapted for the screen by Istvan Szabo and Andrea Veszits.

Principal photography is due to start next year, shooting on location in Budapest, Hungary, and at MMC Studio facilities in Cologne and on location in Leipzig, Germany.

The Door will be produced by Hungary’s Jeno Habermann of FilmArt Studio Kft and Sandor Soeth of Berlin’s Intuit Pictures, Germany. Executive producers are Marco Mehlitz of Lago Film and Phil Hunt of Bankside Films, London.

Financing partners include MKK, NKA, OKM, MTFA, MTV, Media Plus, Eurimages, Concorde, Filmstiftung NRW, NRW Bank and Mitteldeutsche Medienforderung.

Bankside will exclusively represent worldwide territories for international sales excluding Germany and Hungary.

“We are thrilled to be involved with this wonderfully unique and compelling story which will be beautifully executed by one of the world’s most highly regarded directors. We are honoured to be associated with an outstanding production team and a world-class cast. We look forward to bringing the project to the international market at the AFM,” said Hilary Davis, co-managing director of Bankside Films.