EXCLUSIVE: WestEnd Films has boarded sales on Ralph Fiennes’ period drama which will see The English Patient duo Fiennes and Scott Thomas reunite; shoot set for April 23; creative team includes DoP Rob Hardy, costume designer Michael O’Connor and production designer Maria Djurkovic.

Kristin Scott Thomas will play alongside Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones in anticipated period-drama The Invisible Woman, which Fiennes will also direct. The UK shoot is set for April 23.

Adapted by Shame and Iron Lady writer Abi Morgan from Claire Tomalin’s acclaimed biography, the film tells the true story of the secret love affair between Charles Dickens and his mistress Nelly Ternan. Fiennes will star as Dickens, Felicity Jones (Like Crazy, Hysteria) will play Ternan and Scott Thomas, her mother Mrs Ternan.

WestEnd Films has boarded international sales and will co-finance with BBC Films and the BFI. Headline Pictures (Stewart MacKinnon and Christian Baute) and Magnolia Mae (Gabrielle Tana) are producing.

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The film will follow the illicit affair beween the young actress Ternan and the married Dickens. Nelly and her family are initially drawn into Dickens’ world when they take part in one of his theatre productions but Jones’ character soon becomes the focus of the writer’s passion. However, she must lead a life of secrecy and invisibility in order to protect the infamous writer’s reputation. 

The creative team behind the film will include Shadow Dancer and Blitz DoP Rob Hardy, Oscar-winning costume designer Michael O’Connor (The Duchess, Jane Eyre), production designer Maria Djurkovic (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hours), hair and makeup designer Jenny Shircore (Elizabeth, My Week With Marilyn) casting director Leo Davis (The Queen), and editor Nicolas Gaster (Moon).

Fiennes’ directorial debut Coriolanus screened in Competition at the 2011 Berlinale, where this year The Invisible Woman will be among the hottest projects for buyers in the market.

Both Fiennes and Scott Thomas were Oscar-nominated for their performances as fateful lovers in Anthony Minghella’s 1996 epic The English Patient, which carried off nine Oscars.