By Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood May 9, 2014 at 12:36PM
Before closing Cannes Directors' Fortnight with Matthew Warchus' "Pride," about gay activism in the time of Margaret Thatcher and starring Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, BBC Films has unveiled its upcoming roster of star-studded films.
BBC Films will continue their collaboration with playwright, screenwriter, actor and author Alan Bennett on the adaptation of his celebrated memoir "The Lady in the Van." This will reunite BBC Films with Bennett, Oscar-nominated in 1995 for "The Madness of King George," for the first time as a writer since "History Boys" in 2006. Starring Alex Jennings (as Bennett), "Lady" is based on his experiences with Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith), a vagrant who lived in his driveway for 15 years, and it's directed by Nicholas Hytner.
Director Pete Travis' "City of Tiny Lights" will also be produced by BBC Films. Starring Riz Ahmed and Roshan Seth, and written by Patrick Neate from his own novel, the film turns on a cynical private eye (Ahmed) as he uncovers dark secrets in the underbelly of London while on-the-job.
Other yet-to-be-released BBC productions include "My Week with Marilyn" director Simon Curtis' followup "Woman in Gold," which stars Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Bruhl opposite Helen Mirren as a real-life WWII-era heroine; true crime story "London Road," with Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy; and WWI memoir "Testament of Youth," about iconic feminist writer Vera Brittain.
Belgian rising-star Matthias Schoenaerts appears prominently in three upcoming BBC Films productions: yet another WWII tale "Suite Francaise," as a landscape gardener in 17th-century France opposite Kate Winslet in "A Little Chaos," and, of course, Danish helmer Thomas Vinterberg's highbrow lit adaptation "Far From the Madding Crowd" (which will open from Fox Searchlight next May).
Notably, "The Fifth Estate" director Bill Condon reunites with Sir Ian McKellen in "A Slight Trick of the Mind," a portrait of Sherlock Holmes at the end of his tether and facing a difficult final case. Condon wrote and directed "Gods and Monsters" -- an elegant look at the final days in the life of "Frankenstein" director James Whale -- which won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999 and also starred McKellen.