She is virtually guaranteed an Oscar nomination for her performance in The Queen and now Helen Mirren will join Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Rafi Gavron, Andy Serkis, and 12-year-old British actress Eliza Bennett in Inkheart for director Iain Softley and New Line Cinema.
This completes casting as principal photography on Inkheart will begin on location in Liguria, Italy before moving to Shepperton Studios in England.
Mirren will play Elinor Loredan, Meggie’s great aunt in the film based on the international bestselling novel by Cornelia Funke, Inkheart centering on Meggie, a young girl whose father (Brendan Fraser) has a secret ability to bring characters from books to life when he reads them aloud. But when a power-hungry villain from a rare children’s fable kidnaps Meggie’s father to bring others out of the boundaries of fiction, she and a disparate group of friends – both real and magic – embark on an adventure to save him and set things right.
“Inkheart is a magical reality, and Cornelia has provided us with such rich material for the film that bringing it to life is the easy part,” says Softley. “Her illustrations and descriptions in the book have provided us with a way to really feel this new world, and that’s what we are creating, a new world brought forward from a book within a book. Everyone can’t wait to get out to Italy and start principal photography and seeing it all come to life â€“ it’s a very exciting journey we’re about to embark on.”
Inkheart, the first book of a planned trilogy which includes Inkspell (released in 2005) and the upcoming Inkdawn, debuted at number nine on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to be translated into 20 languages. Its author, Funke, has written more than 40 books in 15 years including the international bestseller The Thief Lord. She was named one of Time magazine’s “Most Influential People of the Year” in 2005.