Movie News: BBC Films announce The Lady in the Van starring Maggie Smith, London Road

BBC Films has announced its new slate for the Cannes Film Festival and it includes a new film adaptation of hit play The Lady In The Van.

Maggie Smith in the West End production of The Lady in the Van
Maggie Smith in the West End production of The Lady in the Van

Maggie Smith will return to the role she immortalised on stage in 1999 as Miss Shepherd, alongside Alex Jennings – who is currently starring as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – playing Alan Bennett.

The movie will reunite the team behind The History Boys – Bennett and director Nicholas Hytner, who also directed the stage play of The Lady in the Van. Kevin Loader, Damian Jones and Nicholas Hytner will produce.

The Lady In The Van is based on Alan Bennett’s experiences with Miss Shepherd, a homeless old woman who parked her dormobile in his drive and ended up staying for 15 years.


Other films in BBC Films’ slate includes the movie adaptation of hit National Theatre musical London Road, directed by the National’s new incoming artistic director Rufus Norris. The film documents the events of 2006 when the quiet town of Ipswich was hit with the murder of five women, and stars Olivia Colman, Tom Hardy, Anita Dobson, Linzi Hateley, Nicola Sloane, Clare Burt and the entire cast of the National’s hit production. Filming has just completed on the movie, which will be the first film distributed by the National’s NT Live division.


Pride, which is directed by theatre director Matthew Warchus (Matilda The Musical), and is set to open in the UK on 12 Setpember 2014. The film stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott and Paddy Considine, and is a comedy inspired by the true story about a group of gay and lesbian activists who decide to raise money to support the families of striking miners in 1984.


A number of other BBC Films include recent and forthcoming West End stars including:

  • Carey Mulligan (currently in rehearsals with Bill Nighy in David Hare’s Skylight at the Wyndham’s Theatre), in Far From The Madding Crowd adapted for the screen by David Nicholls
  • Kristin Scott Thomas  (playing Electra at the Old Vic this autumn) and Michelle Williams (currently starring in Cabaret on Broadway) in Suite Française, directed by Saul Dibb
  • Sir Ian McKellen starring as Sherlock Holmes and Hattie Morahan (star of recent West End and Broadway hit A Doll’s House) in Bill Condon’s A Slight Trick of The Mind
  • Bill – a film comedy about Shakespeare starring the cast of BBC TV’s Horrible Histories


BBC Films

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