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Final Cast Announced for Irish/UK Creative Co-Production, Vita and Virginia
Elizabeth Debicki (“The Night Manager”, The Great Gatsby, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Joy) have joined Gemma Arterton (The Girl With All The Gifts, Their Finest) in the eagerly awaited period drama, Vita & Virginia, based on the love letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. The film is an Irish/UK creative co-production, with Katie Holly of Dublin’s Blinder Films producing alongside Evangelo Kioussis for Mirror Productions.
Set to start shooting in September on location in Ireland, Vita & Virginia is the sophomore feature from up-and-coming British director Chanya Button, whose first film Burn, Burn, Burn received its World Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in 2015. The film won critical acclaim and several awards- including the Cinema City Audience Award, the BFI LOCO Film Festival’s Discovery Award and the Grand Prix at the Odesa International Film Festival.
Button co-wrote Vita & Virginia with Dame Eileen Atkins, who first adapted the titular characters’ letters into an award-winning play. The film marks the second time Atkins has tackled the life and work of Virginia Woolf, having won the 1999 Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Screenplay for Mrs. Dalloway.
The film also stars Rupert Penry-Jones (Match Point, “The Strain”) and Peter Ferdinando (Ghost in the Shell, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), and tells the true story of socialite Vita (Gemma Arterton) and literary icon Virginia (Elizabeth Debicki) in 1920s London. When their paths cross, the magnetic Vita decides the beguiling, stubborn and gifted Virginia will be her next conquest, no matter the cost. Vita and Virginia forge an unconventional affair and neither will ever be the same without the other.
Thunderbird Releasing has taken all UK rights to the film in a deal that marks the first major British acquisition for the UK distributor and was negotiated by Protagonist’s George Hamilton with Thunderbird Releasing’s Managing Director Edward Fletcher.
Protagonist is handling worldwide rights, and has also licensed the film to NFP for Germany, Transmission Films for Australia/New Zealand, Cinemart for Czech/Slovak, MCF for Former Yugoslavia, Seven Films for Greece, Edko for Hong Kong, Forum Films for Israel, M2 for Poland and Lusumundo for Portugal.
Vanessa Saal, Protagonist’s MD of Sales & Distribution commented: "Vita & Virginia is the true story of two of the most fascinating and progressive women of their time, who end up in the throes of a passionate affair which shapes their work and changes their lives forever. We are thrilled that Thunderbird has come on board to bring this daring and moving film to UK audiences.”
Director Chanya Button adds: “Vita & Virginia will be a fresh, provocative study of creativity, passion, sex and sexuality; and it offers an exciting opportunity to bring the story behind the creation of Orlando, one of Virginia Woolf’s greatest works to life in a bold, vivid, contemporary way. With my lifelong passion for Woolf’s writing, it is a great privilege to be working with such brilliant women as Gemma and Elizabeth, to bring the lives of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf to the screen”.
The feature is produced by Evangelo Kioussis (Pandorica, Petroleum Spirit) for Mirror Productions and Katie Holly (Love & Friendship, Citadel) for Blinder Films. Executive producers are Simon Baxter, Christopher Figg, Nicolas Sampson, Norman Merry, Dave Bishop and Gemma Arterton. Finance comes from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, Piccadilly Pictures, Sampsonic Media and Lipsync Productions.