Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired most worldwide rights including North America and the United Kingdom to Belle, inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle. Directed by BAFTA Award winner Amma Asante and written by Misan Sagay, Belle features Gugu Mbatha-Raw in her first starring role along with Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton and Matthew Goode. The film was produced by Damian Jones. The film is scheduled to be released in Spring 2014.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a revelation as Belle, she gives a brave and powerful performance joined by an outstanding ensemble cast and we look forward to introducing her to film audiences everywhere. We were entranced by this inspiring story of love and perseverance during a time of significant social and legal changes, said Gilula and Utley.
The experience and sensibilities of the team at Fox Searchlight make it a wonderful match for ‘Belle.’ I am so pleased their passion for this film means it now has the ability to be seen by audiences worldwide. We’ve worked hard to turn historical facts of the life of a true pioneer into a compelling and moving cinema experience, said Asante.
We are thrilled this magnificent film has found the perfect home. The Fox Searchlight team’s understanding of the film and its potential makes for an incredibly exciting journey through release and beyond, said Jones.
Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belles lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicars son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfields role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.