The Daily Mail has confirmed Carey Mulligan’s involvement in Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Ian McEwan’s best selling book On Chesil Beach, reporting that she will undergo some pre-production training for her starring role as Florence Ponting:
Carey Mulligan will be taking violin lessons so she can be note perfect to play the heroine in the film of Ian McEwan’s story of sex in England before the sexual revolution.
The story will follow the honeymoon, specifically the wedding night of a young, educated couple, both virgins and living ‘in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible’. Florence’s marriage to Edward Mayhew (and frustrations in the consummation of their Chesil Beach honeymoon) is used as a study on the sexual and social geography of pre-revolution 1962 England.
Edward Mayhew has yet to be cast but auditions are underway:
Mendes, his partners at Neal Street Productions and Focus Features are studying screen tests featuring a handful of British actors who could play Edward, a graduate historian, who is more a ‘blokey-bloke’, as someone described him, rather than a pretty boy.
Having read On Chesil Beach, it is clear that the novella won’t be easy to adapt for screen with much of the narrative absorbed in a stream of consciousness recount of memories that could disturb the pacing of the film and disrupt the development of a plot. However with McEwan behind the script the film may benefit from any changes that the author himself makes to adapt his story for screen. With Mulligan suitably in the starring role, perhaps On Chesil Beach will be 2011?s Atonement.
Shooting will take place in the South of England and central London this September on the Neal Street Productions and Focus Features production, with BBC Films potentially joining.