Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day, Starring Haley Bennett, Starts Shooting in July

The shooting of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Night and Day,’ starring Haley Bennett (‘Cyrano’), is set to begin in July 2023. Bennett will portray Katharine Hilbery, a dedicated astronomer who wants to avoid love and marriage at all costs. Although the film is set in the early 20th century, with women’s suffrage and the giant leaps in science and technology serving as the backdrop, it will reportedly have a contemporary tone.

Aside from Bennett, German actor Elyas M’Barek (the ‘Suck Me Shakespeare’ films) and several British actors, including Timothy Spall (‘The Kings’ Speech) and Jack Farthing (‘The Riot Club’), have been cast in various roles. M’Barek, in his first major English-language role, will portray Ralph Denham, the primary love interest in the film. Described as an “unromantic comedy,” ‘Night and Day’ will be directed by Iranian-born British BAFTA and Sundance nominated filmmaker Tina Gharavi (‘African Queens: Queen Cleopatra’). Actress and producer Justine Waddell (‘Janine Jansen Falling for Stradivari’) adapted Woolf’s novel for the screen. The project will mark her feature debut as a screenwriter.

First published in 1919, ‘Night and Day’ is often regarded as Woolf’s funniest novel, though her humanism, prevalent in all her works, shines through this one as well. Chronologically, it’s her second novel after ‘The Voyage Out,’ published in 1915. Set in Edwardian England, ‘Night and Day’ deals with themes such as happiness, success, love, and marriage, exploring the connection between them through Katharine, Ralph, and other characters.

“Virginia Woolf observes society so brilliantly,” Gharavi stated. “She has imagined a satirical world where women fight for their right to have a seat at the table and actively beat men off so they can follow their dreams… only to be thwarted when someone unexpected waltzes in and rips up all your plans; finds a crack in your facade and singular focus to make your heart explode. Love derails us all!”

The ‘Tribalism Is Killing Us’ director continued, “Virginia wrote a rom-com, and I’m thrilled to bring it to the screen because women still need to decide between ambition and love… but can love ever allow a woman to also be her best self. I believe so… and in a cynical world, this is the film we need. Hooray for love!”

‘Night and Day’ is a German-Irish-U.K. co-production, with WestEnd Films set to introduce the movie to interested parties in Cannes. Maya Amsellem, the founder of WestEnd, conveyed her excitement about the project. “Tina Gharavi is an exciting filmmaker and we know she will deliver a contemporary energetic execution of Justine Waddell’s incredibly compelling, fresh and funny script,” she said. “We are delighted to bring this female filmmaking team into our WeLove label. Woolf’s novel is as relevant today as it ever was.”

Waddell will serve as a producer on the film alongside Meg Thomson (‘Racing Hearts’), Christopher Figg (‘Mandy’), Julie Link (‘Misfit’), Katie Holly (‘Mr. Malcolm’s List’), Philipp Steffens (‘Racing Hearts’), and Evan Horan (‘Oddity’). Piccadilly Pictures, Keeper Pictures, Asterisk Films, and GLISK are some of the production companies involved in the project, which has also received backing from Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland. We can expect more updates on the casting and production of ‘Night and Day’ in the coming months.

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