Cate Blanchett Finds The Dig

Susanne Bier directing Sutton Hoo drama


There may be few chances for rousing action set pieces where she races the Nazis to ancient treasures, but Cate Blanchett is looking for archaeological thrills of a different kind. According to Screen International, the Blue Jasmine Oscar winner is in talks to star in The Dig.

Susanne Bier, the Danish director behind In A Better World and Open Hearts, is set to make the film, which will dramatize one of the UK’s most famous archaeological finds, the Sutton Hoo burial grounds. Byzantium writer Moira Buffini has knocked the dirt from John Preston’s eponymous novel, which uncovered the people behind the 1930s excavation of the Sutton Hoo site.

Among the artefacts found in the site were a ship burial site and a wealth of Anglo-Saxon objects. The findings from the 6th- and early 7th-century tomb were key to understanding the people of that dim and distant time and many of the objects painstakingly recovered are now on display in the British Museum among other places.

If she makes a deal, Blanchett will play Edith Pretty, an amateur archaeologist coming to terms with a recent tragedy, who was one of the driving forces behind the dig. With World War II looming in the near future, the film aims to juxtapose the discovery of one civilization against another facing its own dark future. Clerkenwell Films and BBC Films are collaborating on this one, with a shoot pencilled in for later this year.