Merman’s first feature film will be the intimate, female-fronted drama HERSELF, which is set against the housing crisis. It will be a co-production with Element Pictures.
Set in Dublin, HERSELF is the story of young mother Sandra who escapes her abusive boyfriend and fights back against a broken housing system. She sets out to build her own home and in the process rebuilds her life and re-discovers herself. THE IRON LADY and MAMMA MIA! Director Phyllida Lloyd is helming.
Irish theatre actress Clare Dunne will star in the film from a script she co-wrote with Malcolm Campbell (WHAT RICHARD DID). The project marks rising actress Dunne’s first leading role in a feature. Among many stage roles, she previously played Prince Hal in the Donmar Theatre all-female version of Shakespeare’s HENRY IV., also directed by Lloyd. Production is planned for the end of April with financiers including Screen Ireland and BBC Films.
Horgan said of the project:
“This script and Clare are the exact reason we started Merman. To have such an accomplished, powerful and moving script from a new writer land on your desk is what you always hope for. We are beyond excited to be making Herself with Phyllida and the legends that are Ed Guiney and Element. Dream come true.”
Element most recently produced THE FAVOURITE. The film was nominated for nine Oscars (winning Best Actress for Olivia Colman) and is the third-highest-grossing movie of the year in the UK. The Favourite is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who recently signed with Merman’s commercial directing roster in the UK.
Element’s Ed Guiney stated,
“The script is very fresh and full of heart and integrity. Clare wrote it for herself to star in and she’s an excellent actress. The combination of producers and creatives was an exciting one for us and it’s great to be involved in a project with strong new talent. The film’s subject will really resonate in the UK, Ireland and the U.S.”
Deadline was the first to report the news.