Working Title has acquired the film rights to Jessica Swale’s hit play “Nell Gwynn.” The period comedy is now running on London’s West End with Gemma Arterton (“Gemma Bovery”) in the title role.
According to Deadline, Swale will pen the script for the film adaptation. Based on the real-life mistress of King Charles II, the 17th century-set story focuses on the period when women were first allowed to act on stage. The play follows Gwynn’s rise from working in a brothel, to selling oranges at the theater, to starring on the stage. On his deathbed, the King was rumored to have commanded, “Let not poor Nelly starve.”
The play first premiered to a sold out limited engagement last summer at Shakespeare’s Globe with Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Beyond the Lights”) in the titular role. She received an Evening Standard Award nomination for Best Actress. Arterton took over the role when it headed to the West End due to Mbatha-Raw’s scheduling conflicts and has secured an Olivier award nomination for Best Actress.
No word yet on who will play the part in the upcoming film adaptation.