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Saoirse Ronan To Star In WW1 Nursing Memoir 'Testament Of Youth,' From 'Harry Potter' Producer David Heyman

The Playlist By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist May 21, 2012 at 3:50PM

After mightily impressing in the likes of “Atonement,” “The Lovely Bones” and more recently “Hanna,” Saoirse Ronan (a name almost impossible to type correctly on a first attempt) looks to have a very exciting career ahead of her. She’ll star in Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium” later this year and has “The Host” and Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” among the more notable releases on her upcoming slate. And we can now add another film to that list, in the form of a David Heyman-produced adaptation of a Vera Brittain memoir.
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Saoirse Ronan

After mightily impressing in the likes of “Atonement,” “The Lovely Bones” and more recently “Hanna,” Saoirse Ronan (a name almost impossible to type correctly on a first attempt) looks to have a very exciting career ahead of her. She’ll star in Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium” later this year and has “The Host” and Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” among the more notable releases on her upcoming slate. And we can now add another film to that list, in the form of a David Heyman-produced adaptation of a Vera Brittain memoir.

We’re assuming that said memoir will be “Testament of Youth,” which was published in 1993 and recounted Brittain’s experiences during World War I and the beginning of her journey towards pacifism. Brittain was famed for her writing on pacifism and feminism, so expect those to be strong themes in the film. Although it’s not explicitly stated in THR’s story, we also think it’s pretty safe to assume that Ronan will be portraying Brittain who was just 17 years old when the war began.

The UK’s The Telegraph reported as long ago as February 2009 that BBC Films were working on an adaptation of “Testament of Youth” with the blessing of Brittain’s estate, and it looks like this is that same project finally coming to fruition. BBC Films will work alongside Heyday Films to bring the movie to the screen, and they must be delighted that they’ve secured such a talented young lead. David Heyman is certainly keeping himself busy post-Potter too, with this being the second project (after “Paddington Bear”) he’s announced in as many weeks.

The same report also reveals that Simon Curtis, director of "My Week With Marilyn," has found a follow-up project, "The Golden Lady," which tells the story of Maria Altmann, who teamed up with a young lawyer to retrieve a number of Klimt paintings, including one of her great aunt, that had been stolen by the Nazis. Curtis' first film was a bit frothy and TV-like in its stylings, but this sounds like it could make for more dramatic stuff. BBC Films are teaming with Origin Pictures ("The Happening") and Jeremy Thomas ("The Last Emperor") for the project, which is written by acclaimed playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell ("The Faith Machine"). [THR]

Elsewhere, Paul Andrew Williams, the writer and director of "Song for Marion," which the Weinstein Company think will be an Oscar hopeful for stars Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, is gearing up to direct "Miss You Already" with Toni Colette and Jennifer Aniston. Williams already has another project in the cards as well: he's attached to write and direct "Sobibor," a based-in-fact drama about the escape of 300 Polish inmates from the titular concentration camp in October 1943. It sounds like pretty potent stuff, and is likely to be on a bigger scale than anything the helmer's done before now. [THR]

Finally, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has been the toast of both Cannes and Sundance, and the film's co-writer, Lucy Alibar (who also penned the source material play), has got another project set up: Escape Artists have picked up the rights to another play, "Christmas and Jubilee Behold The Meteor Shower," and have hired Alibar to pen the script. Sounds like another dose of magical realism is on the way... [Deadline]

This article is related to: Saoirse Ronan, David Heyman, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Simon Curtis, Paul Andrew Williams


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