EXCLUSIVE: Details revealed about Ruby Films drama due to shoot February; project moves from Focus.

Pathe has newly boarded Suffragette, the Film4 and BFI-backed Ruby Films drama, which will star Carey Mulligan.

Pathe will distribute the film in the UK and France and will handle international sales.

The film will be directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) from a script by Abi Morgan, who won an Emmy last month for her work on BBC drama series The Hour.

Morgan, who co-wrote sex addict drama Shame with Steve McQueen, previously collaborated with Pathe on Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady and co-wrote the screenplay for Gavron’s Brick Lane.

Pathe swooped this week on Suffragette, previously known as The Fury, which was with Focus Features until the recent shakeup at the Universal subsidiary.

Sources close to Focus told ScreenDaily that the outfit were big fans of the project but timing meant they could no longer be involved.

Mulligan will play Maud, a character described by the production as a “foot soldier of the early feminist movement” who becomes radicalized and turns to violence as a route to change.

According to the production, the film tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

“These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing.  Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality - their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. 

“Maud was one such foot soldier.  Her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”

Mulligan, the British actress who has taken starring roles in The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Drive and Shame, was Oscar-nominated for her performance in An Education.

Suffragette will be produced by Faye Ward and Alison Owen (Brick Lane, Jane Eyre, Saving Mr Banks) and executive produced by Film4’s Katherine Butler and Pathe’s Cameron McCracken. Chris Collins is lead exec for the BFI Film Fund

Among Pathe’s autumn festival titles are Stephen Frears’ well-received drama Philomena and Justin Chadwick’s sweeping biopic Mandela, starring Idris Elba.