Flying high after two Academy Awards for “The Father,” which it produced and sold, London-based Embankment has unveiled a first look photo of “Sex Education” star Emma Mackey in “Emily,” as well as robust early pre-sales on the feature, an Emily Brontë origin story.
Mackey was nominated on Wednesday for a BAFTA TV Award for Netflix’s “Sex Education” in the category of female performance in a comedy program.
News of first major territories sold, including much of Europe, comes as “Emma” begins principal photography. The film marks the writer-director feature debut of actor Frances O’Connor, a double Golden Globe nominee for her performances in “Madame Bovary” and “Missing.”
First major territory deals have been struck with significant distributors and also take in one multi-territory deal — both signs of the film’s perceived market potential.
Warner Bros., for instance, has closed the U.K. while Wild Bunch has clinched France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Italy and Spain through its subsidiaries, BIM and Vertigo.
Portugal (Nos), Benelux (Cineart), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Greece (Spentzos), Israel (United King), the Middle East (Front Row), South Africa (Filmfinity), and Australia and New Zealand (Madman) have also been licensed.
Joining Mackey and Fionn Whitehead (“Dunkirk,” “Voyagers”) in what Embankment describes as a “cast of vibrant young British talent” are Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“The Invisible Man,” “The Haunting of Hill House”), Alexandra Dowling (“The Musketeers”), Amelia Gething (“The Spanish Princess”), as well as BAFTA nominee Gemma Jones (“Ammonite,” “Rocketman”) and Adrian Dunbar (“Line of Duty”).
The first look captures Mackey as Brontë, a young woman alert to life standing against a background which looks very much like a sweeping Yorkshire moor.
Describing Brontë’s “transformative, inspiring and exhilarating journey to womanhood,” Embankment said Wednesday, the film will “brim with energy — intimately capturing the emotional intensity and adrenalin of youth, with all its messy honesty, heartbreak, humor and fearlessness; matched by the scale of our stunning locations,” O’Connor added.
“Frances’ storytelling is a breath of fresh air – attracting highly dynamic actors; each performing highly engaging characters, each provocative and just a touch dangerous; certainly, modern and spirited,” said Embankment’s Tim Haslam.
“Emily” is produced by David Barron, whose credits include “Harry Potter” films 4-8 and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” as Piers Tempest and Jo Bamford at Tempo Productions (“Military Wives,” “Ordinary Love”) with Robert Connolly and Robert Patterson of Arenamedia (“Paper Planes,” “The Dry”).
Embankment, which is also executive producing and arranging financing on “Emily,” is building a robust sales slate, having just launched international sales on “Golda,” starring Helen Mirren. It is also selling and executive producing Florian Zeller’s second feature, “The Son,” starring Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern, and his follow-up to “The Father.”