King George VI, aka Bertie, and Queen Elizabeth are to be the focus on the big screen again after the Oscar and Bafta success of The King’s Speech.
Samuel West and Olivia Colman are in negotiations to portray the couple on a visit to President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt — the first time a reigning British monarch had ever set foot on U.S. soil.
It was the dawning of what has become the special relationship.
Bertie and his Queen did the formal state visit to Washington with much pomp and ceremony, but then the President invited the royals for an informal get-together over hot dogs, smoked turkey, beer and soft drinks at the Roosevelts’ family home, Springwood, in Hyde Park, upstate New York.
The two couples dined casually on the front porch, and the following day they had a picnic.
The film’s called Hyde Park On Hudson, and will star Bill Murray as Roosevelt. It’s based on a radio play by Richard Nelson and was developed into a feature film by Film4 and Focus Features.
Director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader have had the movie in mind for some time. The film-makers told me about their plans for Hyde Park On Hudson several years ago, when they were shooting Venus with Peter O’Toole and Jodie Whittaker.
So, to be fair, they’re not just jumping on the King’s Speech bandwagon.
Indeed, the meeting of the Roosevelts and the Windsors is only part of the story.
The film will also explore Roosevelt’s ‘intimate friendship’ with his cousin Margaret Suckley, whom FDR affectionately called ‘Daisy’. Laura Linney is in the final stages of discussions about portraying Daisy in the film, which will begin shooting in July on locations in the UK (not the U.S.). Location scouts are looking for suitably splendid mansions with plenty of grounds to replicate the Roosevelt estate near Poughkeepsie.
‘We’re working to secure a brilliant cast,’ producer Loader told me.
Ms Colman is shooting a second series of BBC comedy Rev, and the hope is she’ll be available for Hyde Park On Hudson. She gives one of the year’s best screen performances so far opposite Peter Mullan in Paddy Considine’s movie Tyrannosaur.