Terence Davies’ film adaptation of Scottish author Lewis Gibbon’s 1932 novel, Sunset Song has begun filming in Scotland. The 1932 novel details a story of a revolutionary time of technological progress and profound social dispute.
Although the book had been previously adapted for television in 1971 by BBC Scotland, Davies is transforming it into a feature for the first time. This is Davies’ first feature since The Deep Blue Sea (2011), which starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston as the subjects in an unethical love affair between a royal air force pilot and the wife of a British judge.
Clearly no newcomer to period dramas, Davies directed the acclaimed Gillian Anderson starring film The House of Mirth (2000) and the impressionistic view of blue-collar life in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988). Ben Roberts, chief of the BFI Film Fund (which is partially funding the project), labeled Davies as, “one of our finest filmmakers, whose visually stunning and emotionally penetrating films have opened the eyes, hearts, and minds of audiences around the world.”
In Sunset Song, Agyness Deyn (Clash of the Titans) plays Chris Guthrie, a young woman searching for identity in Scotland during the early 20th century, her tale of self-actualization interwoven into her family’s misfortunes as they are stricken by poverty and disease. A farmer’s daughter, she struggles to achieve love in the midst of tragedy. Sunset Song features a British cast of Deyn, Peter Mullan (Trainspotting), and Kevin Guthrie (Restless).
The project is being developed for a theatrical release by Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter’s Liverpool- based production banner Hurricane Films, along with IRIS Productions and SellOutPictures. One of the main goals is for Sunset Song to capture the magical imagery of Scotland. According to Hollywood Reporter, Bob Last from SellOutPictures detailed, “Our ambition for the film and the opportunity to capture the grandeur of the Scottish landscape drove the use of 65mm film, a first for Scotland and an exciting addition to Terence’s palette.”
Filming in the beautiful setting of Scotland has become increasingly popular, from Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995) to Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share (2012), to the most recent Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013).
Based on all signs, Sunset Song has the potential to approach the impact of the classic novel upon which it is based. We’ll look forward to hearing more from the project as it moves through production.