Oscar and BAFTA winner Mark Rylance is attached to be the main lead in the upcoming comedy-drama The Fantastic Flitcrofts. The film is penned by Paddington 2 writer Simon Farnaby, who has adapted the screenplay from the book The Phantom Of The Open, which he co-wrote with UK writer Scott Murray.
Craig Roberts is set to direct the project, which is his third feature after Eternal Beauty and Just Jim. His acting credits also extend to Submarine and Red Oaks.
The film was developed by BBC Films and the BFI with National Lottery funding. Cornerstone Films will finance and handle worldwide sales, and will present the project to buyers for the first time at next week’s virtual Cannes market, which is opening on Monday.
Rylance will play Maurice Flitcroft, a dreamer and unrelenting optimist, who managed to gain entry to The British Open Golf Championship qualifying in 1976 and subsequently shot the worst round in Open history, becoming a folk hero in the process.
The team of producers is quite impressive, including Nichola Martin through Baby Cow Films (Powder Room), BAFTA Award winner Tom Miller (Code 404) from Water & Power Productions together with Kate Glover (Black Mirror). Oscar nominee and former BBC Films chief Christine Langan (Philomena) and James Swarbrick (A Streetcat Named Bob) are executive producers.
Back in 2016, Rylance won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and BAFTA Award in the movie Bridge of Spies. He was also the iconic big friendly giant in 2016 novel adaptation of The BFG from Roald Dahl, and appeared in Dunkirk and Ready Player One. He has also won Tonys for acting in plays Jerusalem, Boeing Boeing, and Twelfth Night.
Rylance commented on the news of becoming the star of the project: “I am particularly thrilled to be offered a comedy. I have had some of my best times in the theatre in comedies, Boeing Boeing, and Twelfth Night in the West End and on Broadway. This is the first comic film I have ever been offered. A comedy of character and situation which I love.”