Beta Cinema has closed the first major pre-sales for The Offing, a period drama starring Helena Bonham Carter based on the novel by Benjamin Myers, which Emmy winner Jessica Hobbs (The Crown) will direct.
In an unusual move, indie distributors Curzon, Cineart and Madman have jointly acquired all rights for the film in U.K./Ireland, Benelux and Australia/New Zealand. Beta Cinema, which is selling The Offing worldwide, introduced the project to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin in February. Beta said it expects to announce further major territory deals shortly.
Set in North East England shortly after World War II, The Offing will see Carter play Dulcie Piper, a hard drinking, foul-mouthed, bohemian recluse who strikes up an unusual friendship with 16-year-old Robert, a shy, nature-loving son of a miner who is determined to see something of the world before he joins his father down the pit. Under Piper’s tutelage, at her idyllic cottage and garden by the sea, Robert’s life opens to food, girls and the transformative beauty of poetry. But Piper has a tragic secret that has kept her in hiding. When Robert discovers the truth, he is compelled to force her to open her own heart and re-engage with the world.
“The Offing offers a fresh perspective on post-war England, refusing easy nostalgia and giving us two unique characters striving to create beauty and meaning within a society stifled by years of conflict,” Curzon, Cineart and Madman said in a joint statement. “Dulcie Piper is a dream role for Helena Bonham Carter, perfectly complementing her immense talent.”
Amy Roberts (The Winter King, Call the Midwife) is adapting Myers’ book for the screen. Hobbs directed Carter in several episodes of The Crown, including the season four finale, which won Hobbs the Emmy for outstanding directing for a drama series. She is currently in production on HBO limited series The Palace.
Charlotte Walls and Emily Barttelot are producing The Offing via their Catalyst Global Media shingle. They developed the project with support from Beta Cinema. Production is set to begin later this year.
The deal was brokered by Thorsten Ritter and Tassilo Hallbauer of Beta Cinema and Louisa Dent, Marc Smit and Paul Wiegard on behalf of Curzon, Cineart and Madman.
Bonham Carter is represented by Conway van Gelder Grant. Hobbs is represented by Casarotto Ramsay and Associates and CAA.