Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has taken North American and Latin American rights to Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe at script stage.

The WestEnd, Ruby Films and BBC production is set to begin shooting in the English countryside on September 21.

Alison Owen, whose credits include The Other Boleyn Girl and Elizabeth, will produce with Tracey Seaward, who produced The Constant Gardener and The Queen.

Gemma Arterton stars as a former ugly duckling who causes a stir when she returns to her home town for a writers retreat. Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans and Tamsin Greig round out the key cast.

The film is based on a Guardian newspaper strip and later a graphic novel, both of which were inspired by Thomas Hardy’s classic Far From The Madding Crowd.

“To be involved with Tamara Drewe is so exciting,” SPC said in a statement. “The screenplay is so fresh and winning and after over 20 years we are working once again with one of our favorite directors, Stephen Frears.”

SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard released Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette in 1986 while running Orion Classics.

”We are delighted to be working with Sony Pictures Classics,” WestEnd Films’ Sharon Harel-Cohen said.“Michael and Tom have achieved huge success in distribution quality films in North America. Their know-how is second to none, and we greatly look forward to working with them on this exciting film.”

“We are really excited in these challenging times to collaborate with a multitude of talented people and companies,” Ruby Films added in a statement. “We are particularly proud to be working with regular partners WestEnd, BBC Films and Sony Classics.”