Danielle Macdonald and Joanna Lumley will star in Falling For Figaro, a romantic comedy from The Sessions director Ben Lewin which will be an Australian-UK co-production.
Co-written by Lewin and Allen Palmer, the film will follow Macdonald as Millie, a brilliant young fund manager who decides to leave her unfulfilling job and long-term boyfriend to chase her lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer in the Scottish Highlands.
She begins intense vocal training lessons with renowned singing teacher and former opera diva Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop (Lumley) and meets fellow student Max, who is training for an upcoming contest.
The soundtrack will feature music from famous operas including The Barber Of Seville, The Marriage Of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Romeo And Juliet and Carmen.
The producers are Philip Wade, who was an executive producer on Grant Sputore’s I Am Mother, Judi Levine (The Sessions) and Arabella Page Croft (Sunshine On Leith).
Negotiations are underway to cast the role of Max, Levine tells IF. WestEnd Films is handling world sales and will pitch the project at the American Film Market next week.
Screen Australia and Screen Scotland are among the investors, with shooting due to start in Scotland on December 2. The production designer is Luciana Arrighi.
First announced in 2017, the rom-com was to due to begin production last year.
It will be the first feature credit for the Australian-born Palmer, who studied film in LA before working in London as a story analyst for Granada Film, the Script Factory and the UK Film Council.
For five years he ran the Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting program at AFTRS and then ran a screenplay development course at NYU (Sydney).
The Sydney-born Macdonald, who broke out in Patti Cake$, co-stars with Toni Collette, Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever in the Netflix series Unbelievable.
She also appears with Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, and Tracy Letts in the Azazel Jacobs-directed comedy/drama French Exit, which was recently picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.
Lewin said: “Against a backdrop of the most beautiful music ever written for the human voice, Falling For Figaro is both delightfully entertaining and intensely romantic. My intention is to draw audiences into an irresistible story of love and humility and, much like opera itself, tell a story full of drama, wit and passion.”