22 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Audrey Diwan to direct adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait for Element Pictures
15 May 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Audrey Diwan, Maggie O'Farrell
Northern Irish writer Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait will be adapted into a film, marking the first Element Pictures-Wildside co-production. This follows news that Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley will star in a film adaptation of O’Farrell’s novel Hamnet.

French filmmaker Audrey Diwan (Happening) is set to direct a film adaptation of The Marriage Portrait, a novel from Northern Irish author Maggie O’Farrell. The film marks the first co-production between Irish production company Element Pictures and Italian production company Wildside.

Set in 1500s Renaissance Florence, The Marriage Portrait follows the fictional tale of young duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici, a sheltered 16-year-old who has spent her life locked inside the city’s grandest palazzo. When her husband takes her on an unexpected visit to a country villa, she realises he intends to kill her.

Diwan will co-write the film with Marcia Romano, who she previously collaborated with on her Venice Golden Lion-winning film Happening. Speaking to Variety, the director explained she received the book from Element co-founder Ed Guiney: “I was drawn to this novel that’s inspired by a true story, and I envision it as a gothic fable with this castle and the atmosphere of fear.”

This is the second of O’Farrell’s novels to be adapted into a film in the last year, with news breaking at the beginning of 2024 that Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao would adapt Hamnet for the screen, with Paul Mescal (Gladiator II) and Jessie Buckley (The Bride) to star.

Diwan also co-wrote Beating Hearts, French director Gilles Lellouche’s Cannes competition entry. The film stars Adèle Exarchopoulos (Passages), and was adapted from Irish author Neville Thompson’s Jackie Loves Johnser OK?, a love story set in a Ballyfermot estate.

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