FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK and LONDON, July 28, 2011 – Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney star in the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, which began filming this week in the U.K. for co-producers and co-financiers Focus Features and Film4. BAFTA Award winner Roger Michell (Film4’s Venus) is directing from a screenplay by Richard Nelson. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Focus will release Hyde Park on Hudson in the second half of 2012. Focus holds worldwide rights – excluding U.K. free-TV rights, which are held by Film4 – to the movie. Filming is taking place in the U.K. on the Free Range Films/Daybreak Pictures production. Kevin Loader (In the Loop) and David Aukin (Endgame) are producing the feature with Mr. Michell. Focus executive vice president, European production Teresa Moneo is supervising Hyde Park on Hudson.
In June 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (played by Mr. Murray) and his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams of Focus’ Hanna) host the King and Queen of England (Samuel West of Mr. Michell’s Persuasion and Olivia Colman of Film4’s The Iron Lady) for a weekend at the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park on Hudson, in upstate New York – the first-ever visit of a reigning English monarch to America. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support. But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR’s domestic establishment, as wife, mother, and mistresses all conspire to make the royal weekend an unforgettable one. Seen through the eyes of Daisy (Ms. Linney), Franklin’s distant cousin, neighbor, and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but, for Daisy – and through her, for us all – a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship.
The cast of Hyde Park on Hudson also includes Elizabeth Wilson (The Birds), Elizabeth Marvel (True Grit), and Eleanor Bron (Help!). Simon Bowles (Centurion) is the film’s production designer; Dinah Collin (The Ghost Writer) is the costume designer. The cinematographer is Lol Crawley (Film4’s Four Lions).
Mr. Schamus said, “Filmgoers will be intrigued by this unique exploration of the all-too-human side of one of history’s great men. Roger is an actor’s director who will guide Bill and Laura through their playing of Richard’s script, which beautifully encompasses satire and drama.”
Film4’s Tessa Ross said, “This promises to be an extraordinary film; we have our dream cast and a great crew on board, we’re partnering anew with our friends at Focus, and we’re working once again with the exceptional Roger Michell. What a privilege for Film4 to be on this journey with them all.”
Film4, headed by Ms. Ross, is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. The Company develops and co-finances film productions and is known for working with the most innovative talent in the U.K., whether new or established. Film4 developed and co-financed Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which won 8 Academy Awards. Film4 has partnered with Focus Features on such films as Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, for which star Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe Award; Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle; and Lone Scherfig’s soon-to-be-released romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Film4’s recent and forthcoming releases also include Joe Cornish’s directorial debut Attack the Block; Richard Ayoade’s Submarine; Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights; The Iron Lady, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Meryl Streep; and Steve McQueen’s SHAME, with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.
Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.
In addition to Hyde Park on Hudson and One Day, both with Film4, current and upcoming Focus releases include Mike Mills’ Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer; John Madden’s espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; Welcome to Suck City, written and directed by Paul Weitz and starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; Lorene Scafaria’s pre-apocalyptic comedic romance Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; and Tomas Alfredson’s thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy.