Signing up for her tenth film with the Weinstein co., and marking a reunion with her Shakespeare In Love screenwriter Tom Stoppard, Judi Dench has just signed up for Tulip Fever. Justin Chadwick is directing the film, based on Deborah Moggach's novel, and is wrangling an impressive cast that also includes Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger, Zach Galifianakis, Jack O'Connell, Dane DeHaan, Alicia Vikander, Cara Delevingne. Cressida Bonas, and the also just-signed Matthew Morrison.
Tulip Fever is shaping up along the opulent period drama lines of The Girl With A Pearl Earring and Perfume. Waltz plays Cornelis Sandvoort, a man grown rich from the tulip trade, who scores a beautiful young wife, Sofia (Vikander) on the back of his success. When he arranges to have their portrait painted by the dashing Jan van Loos (DeHaan), however, he finds his frustrated bride's attentions straying. Sophia and Jan start secretly speculating in the tulip market themselves, planning their escape. Anyone familiar with Dutch history knows that such speculation is more than a little risky.
Dame Judi will be playing the Abbess of St Ursula's, who rescues orphaned children, while Morrisson plays bohemian artist drunkard Mattheus.
This all comes ten years on from the 2004 attempt to make the film, with John Madden then set to direct Keira Knightley and Jude Law, which was scuppered by a change in UK tax rules on film productions. It's good to see the story finally get another shot at the screen.
Shooting started on Tulip Fever yesterday, for a release sometime next year.