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Newmarket could soon become focus of movie world as Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons set to play Sir Henry Cecil in Frankel film




Newmarket could soon become the focus of the movie world with shooting of a film detailing the career of wonder horse, Frankel, set to start next spring.

It will star Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons as Sir Henry Cecil, who trained Frankel as he was fighting his own personal battle against the cancer which would eventually claim his life in June 2013.

Irons, a Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony award winner, who made his name in the epic television series, Brideshead Revisited, before winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune, is also co-producing the film with Andrew Berg and John Sachs, ofEclipse Films.

Sir Henry Cecil with Frankel, jockey Tom Queally and owner and breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah after the colt's victory in the 2011 2000 Guineas
Sir Henry Cecil with Frankel, jockey Tom Queally and owner and breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah after the colt's victory in the 2011 2000 Guineas

It has been picked up by Canadian company WaZabi Films and this week was being marketed at American Film Market, an annual networking event in the United States where movie ideas are bought, sold and financed.

“We immediately connected with the determination and resilience of the story and are excited to continue to add to our varied and prestigious line-up, which has been well received,” said co-president Lorne Price.

“Our clients expect us to bring them the best, Frankel fits in perfectly.”

The film has been written by Jim Piddock and will be directed by Ron Scalpello

“A lot of people have tried to make this film but fell short of the mark,” said Andrew Berg, of Eclipse Films.

“Jim Piddock’s script stands out as the perfect balance of drama and action and director Ron Scalpello is a gifted director; visceral, sensitive and extremely hard working and creative.

“Jeremy was first choice to play Henry and has a genuine love for horses. His decision to join us as a producer has further cemented his passion for this project.”

Frankel was trained at Warren Place, in Newmarket, and after retiring from racing unbeaten in 14 starts, he moved to his owner’s Banstead Manor Stud, in Cheveley, where he is now a successful stallion with a stud fee of £175,000.

His progeny include this year’s Oaks winner Anapurna, St Leger winner Logician, and leading two-year-old filly Quadrilateral.

The film will follow other successful movies based on true racing stories including Phar Lap (1983), Champions (1984), the Oscar- nominated Seabiscuit (2003), and Secretariat (2010).


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