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On-Set Photos From 'Belle' Filming In Oxford, With Gugu Mbatha-Raw

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by Tambay A. Obenson
October 24, 2012 2:58 PM
3 Comments
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Gugu Amma

Thanks to our spies across the pond...

Here are a few photos from the Oxford set of British actor/writer/director/producer Amma Asante's (in photo above-left) period drama about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race girl titled Belle, which stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw (in photo above-right), Miranda RichardsonTom Wilkinson, Sarah GadonSam Claflin, and Matthew Goode.

Mbatha-Raw is of course playing the lead role, Belle.

The project, which was developed and supported by the British Film Institute, was one of many being shopped to buyers at Cannes in May this year, when we last wrote about it. Bankside Films, the UK-based international film sales company repping the film at Cannes, called it a "hot property."

The project, budgeted at £6.5 million ($10.1 million), also co-stars Tom Felton (from the Harry Potter movies), Sam Reid (playing Belle's love interest), James Norton and Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey).

The film is being produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady). Executive producers are Steve ChristianJulie Goldstein, Ivan DunleavySteve NorrisPhil Hunt and Compton Ross.

The story takes place in the 1780s, and follows a mixed-race girl, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices. As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar's son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.

The film is based on a true story - specifically, the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th-century England.

Her full name was Dido Elizabeth Belle, born 1761, died 1804; she was the illegitimate daughter of John Lindsay (a white British Naval officer) and an African slave woman known only as Belle.

This will be Amma Asante's second feature; her feature debut was a 2004 gritty and compelling South Wales-set racism drama titled A Way Of Life, which she also wrote. And for her work on that film, she was blessed with the BAFTA's (the british equivalent of the OscarsCarl Foreman Award for best debut by a British filmmaker, as well as being named The Times Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.

We'll continue to watch Belle, so any developments will be reported here.

It's expected to be delivered in spring 2013.

In the meantime, check out the on-set photos.

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3 Comments

  • Wanett | October 25, 2012 8:33 PMReply

    As a seamstress, person interested in historical tales of black folks (where it is not commonly recognized that we existed) AND an anglophile I am seriously interested into this one.

  • LeonRaymond | October 24, 2012 4:47 PMReply

    Wow, that's a major heady accomplishment, A Black woman Director doing a period piece, My hats off to her, what American Black Director had the same equal situation. We need to have this happen so much more for Women directors over there and over here!!!

  • urbanauteur | October 24, 2012 5:34 PM

    Exactly!...Julie Dash-Kasi Lemmons-Neema Burnette-Irene Davis-Camille Billips-Euzhan Palcy_Jackie Shearer_Cheryl Dunne etc...

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