Oliver Parker’s The Great Escaper set to start principal photography in June
- The new feature, which is about to be presented at this year’s EFM, will star Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in the lead roles
Pathé has announced that it will be presenting a new feature-length project, entitled The Great Escaper, at this year’s European Film Market (1-5 March – see the news). British helmer Oliver Parker, whose most recent credits include Swimming with Men [+see also:
film profile] (2018) and Dad’s Army [+see also:
film profile] (2016), is set to direct.
The story of Parker’s new effort, penned by William “Billy” Ivory, is inspired by true events and is set in the summer of 2014. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, octogenarian Bernard Jordan (played by Michael Caine) made global headlines. He’d staged a “great escape” from his care home to join fellow war veterans on a beach in Normandy, commemorating their fallen comrades. The bittersweet script is said to explore “the reality with wit and a very big heart”. Bernie’s adventure, spanning just 48 hours, also marked the culmination of his 60-year marriage to Irene (Glenda Jackson). The film will also celebrate “their love without any sentimentality and with an eye to the lessons we might all learn from the Greatest Generation”.
The Great Escaper is scheduled to start principal photography in June this year. Speaking about the project, Parker explained: “No one can resist a script that makes people both laugh and cry – I loved Billy’s writing, and the story itself, so inspirational and so moving, seemed to speak to our times and our need for heroes on a human scale, whether they be people like Bernard Jordan, or our doctors and nurses. And now to have Michael and Glenda – two iconic actors – agree to honour this story with their brilliance, it’s the cherry on the cake!”
The Great Escaper is being produced by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae, and is an Ecosse Films production for Pathé, BBC Films and Ingenious Media (all UK outfits). The executive producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Rose Garnett for BBC Film and Andrea Scarso for Ingenious. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland, and is in charge of its world sales.
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