EXCLUSIVE: Sir Ian McKellen, Vanessa Redgrave in talks for biopic of UK playwright.

Glee star Chris Colfer is attached to lead cast in Noel (working title), the Noel Coward biopic scripted by Bent and Mrs Henderson Presents writer Martin Sherman.

Sir Ian McKellen, Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce are in talks to join the cast of the feature, which portrays the early life and influences of the famously flamboyant British playwright, producer and wit who penned classics including Private Lives and Blithe Spirit and who worked on films including Brief Encounter and In Which We Serve, for which he was Oscar-nominated.

The project, which has already attracted sales heat for Metro International ahead of Cannes, will mark the second feature from British director Joe Stephenson, who recently completed drama Chicken, starring Yasmin Paige, Scott Chambers and Morgan Watkins.

Producers are Stephenson with Julia Valentine (The Silent Storm). Executive producers are Colin Vaines, Jane Wright, Jane Hawley, Enfys Dickinson, Daniel Pickering and Andrew Ornitharis.

The production is aiming for a late summer shoot in the UK while Stephenson’s production outfit B Good Picture Company is in discussion with private equity financiers, having developed the project with the British Film Institute (BFI), and with the support of the Noel Coward Estate. 

Colfer is repped by ICM Partners, Coast to Coast and Inphenate.

Metro International’s Cannes slate includes new documentaries That Sugar Film, about director Damon Gameau becoming a human guinea pig when he consumes the equivalent of 40 spoons of sugar a day for six weeks; Banksy heist film Daylight Robbery, produced by Christine Alderson (Snow in Paradise); and Julian Temple’s Rio 50 Degrees produced by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of F&ME. 

Nina Simone biopic Nina starring Zoe Saldana will receive a premiere market screening.