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Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench and more star in a new adaptation of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit

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Fred Films, Powder Keg Pictures, British Lion Films, Align Pictures and Protagonist Pictures announce that principal photography has now commenced on Blithe Spirit. Directed by Edward Hall (Downton Abbey, Restless) written by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard, Piers Ashworth and based on the play by Noel Coward.

Best-selling crime novelist Charles (Stevens) is struggling with catastrophic writer’s block and a stressful deadline for his first screenplay. His picture-perfect second wife Ruth (Fisher) is doing her best to keep him focussed in the hope of fulfilling her dream of heading to Hollywood. Charles’ desperate search for inspiration leads him to invite Madame Arcati (Dench), a medium recently exposed as a fraud, to perform a séance in their home. They all get more than they bargained for when Arcati accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife: the fiery and jealous Elvira (Leslie Mann) who embarks on a mission to kill Charles so she can spend eternity with him which leads to an increasingly comical and deadly love triangle.

Leslie Mann (This is 40, The Other Woman) joins an all-star cast which includes Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Legion), Isla Fisher (The Beach Bum, Confessions of a Shopaholic), Julian Rhind-Tut (Rush, Stardust), Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Delicious), Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake), James Fleet (Outlander, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Judi Dench (Philomena, Skyfall). BLITHE SPIRIT is a riotous reimagining of Noel Coward’s classic comedy, about love that just won’t die…

Producing is James Spring (Fisherman’s Friends, Easy Virtue), Meg Leonard (Fisherman’s Friends, Finding Your Feet), Nick Moorcroft (Fisherman’s Friends, Finding Your Feet), Hilary Bevan Jones (Pirate Radio), Peter Snell (The Wicker Man), and Toni Pinnolis.

Align, a newly formed LA based production and financing group, is fully financing with additional equity provided by Fred Films. Align CEO Adrian Politowski and SVP of Production Martin Metz are producing on behalf of Align.

STUDIOCANAL has acquired BLITHE SPIRIT for the UK following an incredibly successful Cannes market, with Protagonist closing several key territories including Australia/New Zealand (Transmission), Spain (A Contracorriente), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Latin America (Cinepolis), Portugal (NOS Lusomundo), CIS/Baltics (Paradise), Eastern Europe (M2), Greece/Cyprus (Tanweer), Israel (Forum Films), Philippines (Pioneer), Taiwan (Cai Chang), the Middle East (Front Row), South Africa (Empire) and Airlines (Echo Lake).

Director Edward Hall comments, “I am delighted to be starting principal photography on this new adaptation of BLITHE SPIRIT. The cast and team that have gathered together to realise this colourful and original comedy are testament to the enduring appeal of Noel Coward’s unique story. Elegant, escapist and anarchic, I hope it will lift cinemagoers spirits and leave the troubles of the world behind for a moment as we enjoy afterlife turbulence of a very different kind…”

Anna Marsh, Executive Vice President International Distribution of STUDIOCANAL and UK Managing Director, confirms “We are so delighted to have acquired BLITHE SPIRIT for the UK market. I look forward to Edward Hall’s reimagining of a Noel Coward classic comedy and bringing this to audiences across the country next year. It’s wonderful to be on board as production starts this week and with a first-class filmmaking team and cast in place.”

Vanessa Saal, Managing Director, Sales & Distribution at Protagonist, adds “We were confident this timeless comedy paired with a stellar cast would entice buyers and are absolutely thrilled to return from Cannes with such strong partners. We can’t wait to see these characters come back to life through Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Isla Fisher, and Judi Dench!”

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