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Production begins next week on Focus and BBC's JANE EYRE

Posted March 18, 2010

Production begins next week on Focus and BBC's JANE EYRE; Ruby Films Producing; Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender star for director Cary Fukunaga

LONDON, March 18, 2010 – Production begins next week in the U.K. on Focus Features and BBC Films’ romantic drama Jane Eyre, produced by Ruby Films and based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. Cary Fukunaga, whose debut feature was Focus’ award-winning Sin Nombre, is directing Jane Eyre, to which Focus holds worldwide rights. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) will star in the lead roles of the romantic drama. In the story, Jane Eyre (Ms. Wasikowska), flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester (Mr. Fassbender). The isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester’s coldness – have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester – and the terrible secret that he is hiding…

The screenplay adaptation is by Moira Buffini, who for Ruby and BBC Films adapted the upcoming Tamara Drewe. Ruby’s Alison Owen (an Academy Award nominee for Elizabeth) and Paul Trijbits (Fish Tank) are producing Jane Eyre. Christine Langan, Creative Director of BBC Films, is executive-producing for the BBC. Focus senior vice president, European production Teresa Moneo is supervising the project for president of production John Lyons.

The supporting cast includes Jamie Bell (of Focus’ September release The Eagle of the Ninth), Academy Award winner Judi Dench, Holliday Grainger (of the upcoming Bel Ami), Golden Globe Award winner Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Tamzin Merchant (of Focus’ Pride & Prejudice), and Imogen Poots (of the May release Solitary Man). The director of photography on Jane Eyre is Adriano Goldman, reteaming with Mr. Fukunaga following their acclaimed collaboration on Sin Nombre. Will Hughes-Jones (Survivors) is the production designer; Academy Award winner Michael O’Connor (The Duchess) is the costume designer.

Mr. Schamus said, “Cary is the ideal choice to realize this unforgettable story in its traditional setting, yet with contemporary vitality and spirit. With two of today’s most promising new stars in Mia and Michael, plus an outstanding supporting cast, this will be a Jane Eyre for the ages.”
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Ms. Langan added, “We’re delighted to bring together two such fresh and impressive talents as director Cary Fukunaga and screenwriter Moira Buffini. Added to the gorgeous cast Cary has assembled, this is exactly the treatment Charlotte Brontë’s evergreen classic Jane Eyre deserves.”

Ruby Films is currently completing the aforementioned Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears. The company last produced John Alexander’s award-winning telefilm Small Island; and Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Five Minutes of Heaven, starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. Ms. Owen also recently executive-produced the acclaimed telefilm Temple Grandin, directed by Mick Jackson and starring Claire Danes.

BBC Films is the feature filmmaking arm of the BBC. It is firmly established at the forefront of British independent filmmaking, and co-produces approximately eight films a year. Working in partnership with major international and U.K. distributors, BBC Films aims to make strong British films with range and ambition. Creative Director Christine Langan is responsible for the development and production slate. Jane Wright is Managing Director, responsible for running the business operations and marketing aspects of the division.

Recent successes for the department include Lone Scherfig’s Academy Award-nominated BAFTA Award-winning An Education; Armando Iannucci’s Academy Award- and BAFTA Award-nominated In the Loop; Jane Campion’s Academy Award-nominated Bright Star; and Andrea Arnold’s BAFTA Award-winning Fish Tank. Currently on release is Martin Campbell’s Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone; StreetDance, Britain’s first-ever 3-D movie, hits U.K. cinemas on May 21st, 2010.

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) is a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers – films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company’s flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International overseas.

In addition to Jane Eyre, current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Greenberg, from writer/director Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller; the unique nonfiction feature Babies, directed by Thomas Balmès; Anton Corbijn’s suspense thriller The American, starring George Clooney; Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald’s Roman epic adventure The Eagle of the Ninth, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong; writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Joe Wright’s adventure thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere; and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.