Dollhouse Pictures, Storyd Group option Hannah Kent’s ‘Devotion’

Hannah Kent (right) will adapt her novel 'Devotion' into a feature film for Dollhouse Pictures and Storyd Group.

With Deanne Weir and Olivia Humphrey’s Storyd Group, Dollhouse Pictures is developing a feature film based on Hannah Kent novel Devotion.

Published last year, Devotion is a queer love story set in late 1830s Prussia. It follows 15-year-old Hanne and her friend Thea as their Lutheran community flees religious persecution, leaving for a new settlement in South Australia. The journey puts their faith and friendship under threat but proves the bond of love is unbreakable.

The novel, Kent’s third, won Booktopia’s Favorite Australian Book. It was also shortlisted for an Indie Book Award, the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year and the ABA Nielsen Bookdata Booksellers’ Choice Award for Adult Fiction 2022.

Kent will adapt her book for screen, with Dollhouse’s Jessica Carrera to produce with Weir and Humphrey.

Devotion is a love story for the ages, a burgeoning classic about desire, connection, and our need to belong. The characters in the pages of Hannah’s beautifully crafted novel and their screen potential have lingered with us all for so long. It’s a thrill to have a wonderfully ambitious production and creative team involved,” said Carrera.

Both Kent’s prior two novels, Burial Rites and The Good People, have also been optioned for screen, with Luca Guadagnino attached to direct the former in 2017. Kent’s screenwriting credits include Daina Reid’s Sarah Snook-starrer Run Rabbit Run, currently in post, for which Storyd Group is also an investor.

Dollhouse Pictures is a production collective founded by Rose Byrne, Gracie Otto, Krew Boylan, Shannon Murphy and Carrera. Its first project was Seriously Red, written by and starring Boylan and directed by Otto, on which it also worked with the Storyd Group.

Kent said she “could not be more thrilled” that the two businesses had sought the film rights to her book.

“Their commitment to female-driven storytelling and exploring the parameters of creative possibility makes them a perfect production team for this novel.  I am so looking forward to developing the screenplay – it’s an absolute honour to be able to work with them and I am very excited to see what comes of their vision,” she said.

Weir and Humphrey, who formed their female-focused production and financing outfit earlier this year, noted they fell in love with Devotion immediately.

“We believe it will make a magnificent feature film,” they said.

“Hannah is a magical writer, and we have already seen the beauty of her screenwriting through our involvement in her much-anticipated screenplay Run Rabbit Run. We are delighted to work with the Dollhouse team again following our partnership on Seriously Red.”

Dollhouse Pictures’ development slate also includes the psychological thriller series The Geography of Friendship, jointly developed and produced with Aquarius Films for Lionsgate and Stan and based on Sally Piper’s novel of the same name.