EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan joined on prestige project by Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and Sarah Gadon.

Production on buzz script Brooklyn has come together with a bang at the beginning of the America Film Market. 

HanWay has boarded sales on the prestige period-drama, which will see in-demand Atonement and Hanna star Saoirse Ronan lead a top cast featuring Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and Sarah Gadon.

The London-based sales outfit has inked deals with Lionsgate UK for distribution in the UK and Ireland and Transmission for rights in Australia and New Zealand.

BAFTA-nominated John Crowley (Boy A) will direct Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Toibin’s acclaimed novel, which is being produced by Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey.

The film follows Nora (Ronan), a young Irish woman who leaves her small town in Ireland hoping for a brighter future in 1950s Brooklyn. Despite her initial homesickness, she falls in love with Tony (Cohen) an Italian-American who opens her eyes her new surroundings. But a family tragedy leads Nora back to Ireland where her American sophistication catches the eye of the charming Jim (Gleeson).  

The project was developed by BBC Films, which is also on board to back the production, which will start shooting in April 2014.

The Irish Film Board is also funding and Parallel Films in Ireland is co-producing.

Hornby, Dwyer and Posey were all Oscar-nominated for period-drama An Education. Oscar-nominated Ronan most-recently starred in How I Live Now.

Thorsten Schumacher CEO of HanWay Films said: “Having been long time fans of the book we were just blown away by Nick’s adaptation and the amazing package that John, Finola and Amanda put together. Partnering up with Lionsgate & Transmission so early on proves that Brooklyn will be a hit with distributors worldwide.”

Zygi Kamasa, Lionsgate UK CEO, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Finola and Amanda again on this beautiful adaptation of Toibin’s Irish classic. John is the perfect director for this and I’m convinced he’s going to make a terrific film that will be warm and funny and tragic in equal parts.”

Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey added: “Its an honour to be bringing Colm Tóibín’s iconic novel to the screen and to be working again with Nick Hornby, who has masterfully adapted. John Crowley is the ideal director for this material; he gets the most sublime performances and the ability to tell an epic story from an intimate perspective. And Lionsgate as our partner reflects our and BBC’s ambition for the film.”

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films said: “The wit and detail of Nick Hornby’s exquisite adaptation of Colm Toibin’s modern classic will resonate with audiences around the world. John Crowley has assembled the perfect cast and BBC Films is thrilled to be supporting Wildgaze in the telling of this very funny, yet heart-breaking tale.”

HanWay’s AFM slate also includes See-Saw western Slow West, Lone Scherfig’s Posh and Nick Cave doc 20,000 Days on Earth.