Black Bear and 30WEST launch international sales of ‘Fred & Ginger,’ starring Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley
Black Bear International has launched international sales on Fred & Ginger, a theatrical musical event film that charts the passionate and explosive relationship between Hollywood dance legends, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. BAFTA-winner, Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Rocketman, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) will play Astaire, the technically-driven perfectionist, opposite Emmy and SAG-nominee, Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, “Maid,” “Fosse/Verndon”) as the naturally gifted and unstoppably versatile Rogers.
The visionary Jonathan Entwistle (The End of the F*cking World) will direct from a script by critically-acclaimed writer Arash Amel (The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, A Private War, Rise). Acclaimed Grammy-winning music producer Marius de Vries (Coda, La La Land, Moulin Rouge!) will work alongside two-time Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon (MJ the Musical, An American in Paris) and Grammy-winning songwriters Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear and Emmy-nominated Mark Sonnenblick to recreate the magical music and dance numbers the pair are famous for.
Academy Award-nominated producer Fred Berger (La La Land) and Emmy-winning Brian Kavanuagh-Jones (Bad Education) of Automatik will produce with Max Minghella (Teen Spirit) along with Bell, Qualley, Amel, and Entwistle. 30WEST will executive produce and fully finance. The film is set to start production later this year. UTA Independent Film Group and 30WEST will co-represent U.S. rights, while Black Bear International will handle international sales at the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ names resonate universally not only as a symbol of Hollywood’s golden age, but also as the ultimate dancing duo. The dynamic duo made ten films together, simultaneously revolutionizing the musical film genre and dazzling audiences with their inventive flair, which continues to shape dance and filmmaking today. But how much do we really know about their relationship behind the cameras? Fred & Gingerdives beneath the beloved stage personas of these two icons, examining what individually drove them while celebrating the singular magic they created. This story focuses on a life-defining point in their early careers when their contrasting dance styles and intense rivalry threatened to destroy their partnership and carefully honed image forever. Through their conflicting ambitions, they pushed each other to new heights, transforming their competitive energy into electrical performances that went on to dominate the big screen for over a decade.
“Margaret and Jamie were born to portray this legendary dance duo,” said producer Fred Berger, “We’re so excited to give people a big joyous event – brimming with spectacle and heart – that will leave you smiling, crying, and dancing out of the theater.”
“Nothing is more important to buyers around the world than life-affirming and original entertainment that feels truly theatrical,” said John Friedberg, President, Black Bear International. “Fred & Ginger answers all those needs and more. It is a phenomenal story, with pitch-perfect casting and we couldn’t be more excited to bring this to market, along with our close friends at Automatik and 30WEST.”
Bell took the world by storm with his talented interpretation of Billy Elliot which garnered him a BAFTA at the age of 14. His structured dance school background and focus on technique and form draws strong parallels with Fred, who prided himself on ‘perfectionism.’ Bell will next be seen in Andrew Haigh’s Strangers alongside Paul Mescal and Claire Foy, and in Anthony Mandler’s Surrounded for MGM.
Qualley, who has become one of the most sought-after actors of her generation, can most recently be seen in the critically acclaimed limited series for Netflix, “Maid,” for which she received Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice award nominations; as well as in Claire Denis’ Stars at Noon, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022. Upcoming, Qualley will star in Sanctuary, alongside Christopher Abbott, for NEON; Ethan Coen’s Untitled Project for Focus Features; Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things and And, both for Searchlight; and The Substance, for Working Title and Universal. Qualley has a lifelong passion for dance, which the world has seen portrayed through her celebrated and award-nominated performances in “Fosse / Verdon” and the renowned Spike Jonze directed Kenzo advertisement in 2016, among other projects. She embodies the free-spirited, emotional and effortless style that Ginger was so known and loved for.
Qualley is represented by UTA, Relevant PR, and Sloane, Offer, Weber, & Dern. Bell is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment and Sloane, Offer, Weber, & Dern. Entwistle is represented by CAA, 42, and Grandview. Amel is represented by Grandview and Myman Greenspan. Wheeldon is repped by CAA. Sonnenblick is represented by CAA. Barlow and Bear are represented by CAA and Richard Kraft at Kraft-Engel; Barlow is also represented by David Fererria at Mark Music & Media Law; Bear is also represented by Adam Mersel at Immersive Management and Ken Hertz at Hertz Lichtenstein & Young.
Photos courtesy of Michael Muller; Shutterstock