Related Article: Interview with 52 Tuesdays director Sophie Hyde.
Award-winning director Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays, Life in Movement) is helming a feature adaptation of author-turned-screenwriter Emma Jane Unsworth’s best-selling novel Animals, an unconventional female driven comedy starring Holliday Grainger (Tulip Fever, My Cousin Rachel) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Search Party).
The official Irish/Australian co-production from Vico Films and Closer Productions is currently shooting in Dublin, having secured production investment from Screen Australia and the Irish Film Board (IFB) in association with the Adelaide Film Festival and the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC).
Grainger and Shawkat star as Laura and Tyler respectively, best friends and drinking buddies whose hedonistic existence falls under the creeping horror of adulthood when Laura gets engaged to Jim – an ambitious pianist who decides, unfathomably, to go teetotal.
Sophie Hyde is also producing alongside Rebecca Summerton for Closer Productions, BAFTA-nominated Sarah Brocklehurst (Black Pond), and Cormac Fox for Vico Films. Emma Jane Unsworth wrote the screenplay based on her novel which was first published in 2014 in the UK, followed by editions in the USA, Canada, Germany, France and Spain.
“Emma’s novel (and screenplay) is a celebration of a female friendship and an examination of being a modern woman, a woman with faults and longings, aspirations and competing desires,” said director Sophie Hyde. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with both Holliday and Alia to bring two characters to the screen who are funny, disturbing, charming and nuanced, and I am delighted to bring this Animals world to life with an exceptional team from both Ireland and Australia.”
Sophie Hyde made her debut in 2014 with the ground-breaking film 52 Tuesdays, which she produced, directed and co-wrote. The breakout hit went on to win several awards including Best Director at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at Berlin Film Festival in 2014. Hyde and Summerton are both owners and directors of Closer Productions and recipients of Gender Matters Brilliant Careers funding in 2016 for a proposal to identify and support exceptional female voices.
British actress Holliday Grainger’s credits include My Cousin Rachel, Disney’s live action film Cinderella, and Emmy® Award-winning drama series The Borgias. Alia Shawkat is an award-winning actress best known for her work on cult TV series Arrested Development as well as roles in Search Party and Amazon’s Emmy® award-winning series Transparent.
Australia’s co-production treaty with Ireland was signed in 1998 and to date has produced five official co-productions – one TV miniseries, two children’s drama series, one feature-length documentary and one documentary series. Animals will be the first drama feature film made under the treaty. The Competent Authorities tasked with administrating the Co-production Program in Australia and Ireland are Screen Australia and the Irish Film Board respectively.
Post production will be handled by Kojo in Adelaide, Bonsai Films are on board to distribute in Australia and New Zealand, and Cornerstone Films are handling international sales.