Leading UK theatre directorLaurence Boswell, best known for the starry production of This Is Our Youth, has signed up for his feature debut, tentativelytitled D.
The Gruber Films productionis a modern re-telling of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac, set in a south London comprehensive school. Thescreenplay by Royal Court playwright Amit Gupta sees Roxane wanting to go toOxbridge and D, the Cyrano character, a sixth former who reads philosophy andwrites poetry while studying for his A-levels.
Backing so far comes fromMomentum Pictures, the UK distributor, as the first picture in its first-lookdeal with Gruber. The production company, which has credits including ShootingFish and Waking Ned Devine, also has a first-look deal with support body the UKFilm Council.
Sid Ganis and Alex Siskin ofSony-based Out Of The Blue Entertainment, which has credits including BigDaddy and Mr Deeds, are executive producing.
Boswell's staging ofKenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth attracted such young film stars as Matt Damon,Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin. It was widely acknowledgedas having introduced a newer, younger audience to the West End.
What attracted him to D was the story's aspirational attitude.'As soon as someone is from a deprived background they tend to beportrayed as victims,' he says. 'There's a drunk dad or adrug addicted mum. Amit is young enough to know their point of view and howsophisticated they are.'
Boswell's othercredits include making a Broadway star of Eddie Izzard with the transfer of ADay In The Death Of Jo Egg, anddirecting Madonna in Up For Grabs.
'Creatively, it's a perfect match,' saidRon Fogelman, who heads Gruber with Richard Holmes. 'Laurence'sability to draw astonishing performances from a young cast stood out in ThisIs Our Youth and his production of Beauty& The Beast is visually stunningwith a clear cinematic dimension.'
Holmes added thattransplanting Rostand's 15th century swashbuckler-poet with aridiculous nose to a south London playground is not as far-fetched as it mightseem. 'There's real tribal aspect in the playground. Words areimportant, whether it verbal, music, texting, or emailing. The ability toinsult someone, and do it with panache, has real value.'
Shooting on D should start next summer, to fit in withBoswell's theatre schedule and the school holidays.