Irish writer-director Mary McGuckian, currently in post on historical drama The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, will next direct Rag Tale, an $8.5m black comedy about Britain's tabloid newspaper culture.

Following a week in the life of a tabloid newspaper as the editor tries to save his job, the film will be shot in black and white and colour on high definition digital. It will rely largely on actor improvisation, although McGuckian says that her finished script is very structured in terms of storyline. "It's 50 pages long, and it's a normal script except it's missing the dialogue," McGuckian told

The project has been in development for several years and was neck and neck with The Bridge Of San Luis Rey to be produced first. But McGuckian, and her producer brother Garrett, decided to push ahead with Bridge first, starring Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Kathy Bates.

Rag Tale, which is scheduled to start shooting from next summer, will have an in depth workshop rehearsal process, and the film will use whatever stories are in the tabloid newspaper's at the time of the shoot as background. "It's about the actors getting to the stage of totally knowing their characters," said McGuckian, "and we'll have a three week workshop stage with the actors."

The film is currently being financed, with cast yet to be announced.