More on Bronte

From the Yorkshire Post, comes more news about Jonathan’s next project Bronte to start filming this fall. Includes a possible release next year at the Toronto Film Festival:

Bronte sisters film set to boost region
07 August 2006

Their novels still exercise a hold over popular imagination and now their lives are about to be made into a major film which will introduce cinemagoers around the world to Yorkshire’s hills and dales.

Filming is due to start in October on the film which will chronicle the lives of the Bronte sisters and is set to be a massive boost for the local economy as audiences are introduced to the landscapes that inspired their work.

It will star Michelle Williams, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Brokeback Mountain, as Charlotte. Natalie Press, who has appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Bleak House will play Emily and Anne will be played by Emily Barclay, from New Zealand, who was in the film In My Father’s Den.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who was in Bend it Like Beckham, will play Branwell and Ben Chaplin will play Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls. Brian Cox takes the role of Rev Patrick Bronte.

Yesterday film co-producer Alistair MacLean Clark, of AMC Pictures said filming would begin in October, although they would not be shooting in Haworth itself. He said they were looking at two or three locations.

“The house they lived in has changed quite dramatically over the years so we are trying to find a local town or village which is not too far away where we can build a set,” he said.

“The story begins with them as children and moves on to them at the age of 17/18 and continues for the rest of their lives. It focuses on what drove, Charlotte, Emily and Anne to write. The challenge with a film like this is do you cover their whole lives or just one section. We’re doing the whole lot. I felt it was important to show their entire lives as they were so short. We go into what they were like growing up and where their imagination and passion came from to write books because they led austere lives.”

The script was originally written for Dreamworks film company nine years ago but then shelved until Mr MacLean Clark picked it up five years ago.

“It was a story that needed to be told. There have been variations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights but there has never been an English language variation of their lives, which is really close to the truth,” he said. “They are still some of the best-selling authors in the world who are also quite contemporary.”

He added: “It’s important to be shooting the movie as close as possible to Haworth because that’s where it all took place and it needs to be accurate. A lot of the extras will be locally cast and where possible the crew will also be employed locally.”

Alan Bentley, director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, in Haworth, said: “This will tell the lives of the Bronte’s to a wider audience. I am sure it will boost the economy, what’s good for the parsonage is also good for the local area.”

He said members of the cast would be welcome to visit the parsonage to help them with preparations for the film. They will spend eight weeks filming and hope to launch the film at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2007. It is hoped it will be in cinemas by January 2008.

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