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Keeley Hawes to Play Patricia Neal in Film About the Star and Roald Dahl (EXCLUSIVE)

By Stewart Clarke

LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Keeley Hawes will star opposite Hugh Bonneville in a film about the Oscar-winner Patricia Neal and her husband, author Roald Dahl. Formerly known as “ An Unquiet Life ,” and based on Stephen Michael Shearer’s book of the same name, the family drama starts filming this week in Surrey, southern England.

John Hay directs. He co-wrote the script with David Logan. The movie has already scored a raft of presales.

Film and TV star Hawes returns to the big screen after the success of BBC/Netflix breakout hit “Bodyguard” and ITV/PBS drama “The Durrells.” She also set up her own banner this year, Buddy Club Productions , and has teed up several projects.

Neal, who died in 2010, starred in Hollywood classics such as “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” before winning an Oscar for 1963’s “Hud.” She was nominated again in the best actress category five years later for “The Subject Was Roses.” She married Dahl, the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach,” in 1953.

Hawes will play Neal in 1962, as she and Dahl retreat to the English countryside to bring up their young family. The seemingly unlikely pair – the glamorous American star and the British author of eccentric children’s books – find their relationship put to the test by tragic events.

“The story of and is extraordinary, and I’m so excited to be part of it and so looking forward to working with the brilliant and the hugely talented John Hay, who has provided us with such a beautiful script,” Hawes said.

“Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal seemingly had it all until an unimaginable event threatened to tear their family apart,” added Hay. “I am so pleased we have attracted two award-winning talents in Hugh and Keeley to play these iconic roles.”

The film is an Align/Goldcrest presentation, produced by Atticus Films and financed by Align, LipSync Productions and Goldcrest Features. Goldcrest is repping worldwide rights on the movie. Ahead of principal photography starting Thursday, it has closed a raft of deals including with Icon Film in Australasia, Empire International in the Middle East, Paradiso in the Benelux countries, Red Apollo Group in China, and MVP Entertainment in India.

Donall McCusker (“The Hurt Locker”), Align CEO Adrian Politowski (“The Artist”), Martin Metz (“Mandy”) and Nick Quested (“Danger Close”) are producing. “Award-winning writers John Hay and Dave Logan have written a warm, funny and powerful script that we know is going to resonate with audiences throughout the world,” McCusker said.

“With a love as electric as Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal’s, it’s no surprise a project as special as this one has attracted the likes of Hugh Bonneville and ,” Politowski said.

Hawes is repped by Troika and LINK Entertainment.

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