Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney star in the historical tale Hyde Park on the 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 the 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 the 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 Olivia Colman) 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 the 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."
Focus Features and Focus Features International (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.