Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch are teaming up to adapt the timely novel Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy.
The novel was highly sought-after by a number of production banners and streamers as it offered a layered female protagonist in a unique setting, but it was Cumberbatch’s shingle, SunnyMarch, that secured the screen rights.
Foy will star and executive produce while Cumberbatch will produce along with SunnyMarch’s Adam Ackland and Leah Clarke.
The book, published by Flatiron Books in August, is both an intimate and epic story of a woman’s search for redemption on a world facing a slow death by climate change.
The tome focuses on a woman named Franny Stone who is tracking what may be the final migration of Arctic terns. When she hustles her way onto a small vessel of misfit fisherman and embarks on an odyssey through stormy seas, her dark past of love, loss, crime and motherhood unfolds in a ode to the wild places in and around us, and the extreme lengths one will go to for the people they love.
“Charlotte has created an utterly unique and beautiful story with a compelling and fascinating woman at its heart,” said Foy in a statement. “I couldn’t be more honored or excited to help bring this truly remarkable novel to the screen.”
Foy garnered international acclaim, as well as an Emmy and Golden Globe, for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown. Foy wrapped a starring turn alongside Cumberbatch in the upcoming period drama Louis Wain, set for release in 2021. The film was also co-produced by SunnyMarch. It was during that match-up that the two parties decided to find material they could work on together once more.
“We have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate again with Claire on something special that explores big themes and offers Claire an opportunity to portray a character the likes of which we have not seen before,” said SunnyMarch’s Clarke. “We are delighted to have found it in Charlotte’s undeniably cinematic Migrations and the character of Franny Stone. Together we all hope to bring you something very special.”
UK-based SunnyMarch, founded by Ackland and Cumberbatch, have three films in the can for a release in 2021. On top of Wain, there is The Courier, a Cold War spy thriller directed by Dominic Cooke and a currently untitled Kevin Macdonald film based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s best-selling memoir Guantanamo Diary. The company also has a TV arm that has a deal with StudioCanal and produced the BAFTA-winning, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series Patrick Melrose for Sky and Showtime.
Migrations was a UTA special as the agency reps McConaghy, Foy, and Cumberbatch and SunnyMarch.
McConaghy, who has a degree in screenwriting and is currently writing another novel that intersects her passions of nature and female empowerment, this one about about a biologist charged with using wolves to rewild a landscape and bring a forest back to life. She is additionally repped by Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Foy is additionally repped by Independent Talent Group. On top of UTA, SunnyMarch is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant, and Sloane Offer.