Emily will mark Frances O’Connor’s directorial debut and be based on her own screenplay. Producer credits include David Barron, Piers Tempest and Jo Bamford of Tempo Productions, and Robert Connolly and Robert Patterson of Arenamedia. The biopic will be introduced to buyers at the upcoming Cannes virtual market, with Embankment Films currently handling world sales.
Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847 and remains Bronte’s only finished novel, written under a pseudonym “Ellis Bell.” The story centers around a doomed love affair between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Though the novel is now a highly regarded piece of classic literature, it was deeply polarizing in the mid-1800s for its depictions of conflicting morals, social class and gender inequality, all of which challenged the strict Victorian ideals.
Alongside Mackey, Emily’s ensemble cast includes Joe Alwyn, Fionn Whitehead and Emily Beecham. Alwyn will play Emily’s conflicted lover, Whitehead will portray the inspiring but troubled brother Branwell Bronte, and Beecham will play Emily’s sister Charlotte Bronte, famed author of the classic Jane Eyre. Production is set to begin in Britain’s Yorkshire region sometime early 2021.
On Thursday, O’Connor said in a statement about Emily, “Emily Bronte’s work and words are full of passion, feeling, violence and fierce intelligence. In creating an imagined life for Emily, she will live again for our audience. Her story is about a young woman daring to form herself, to embrace her true nature, despite the consequences. … I am so excited to work with such a thrilling, talented, young cast; luminous, intelligent, and spirited.”