Posted on May 14th, 2019 by Frederik

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dream Horse, the upcoming drama starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, has found a stable in the U.S. Bleecker Street and Topic Studios have jointly acquired U.S. rights to the film, directed by Euros Lyn and currently shooting in Wales. Joining the two leads are new castmembers, including Owen Teale (Game of Thrones), Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey), Nicholas Farrell (The Iron Lady), Sian Philips (Dune) and Karl Johnson (Peterloo). Based on the hit 2015 documentary Dark Horse, the film is a Raw production, with Film4, Ingenious and Ffilm Cymru Wales financing. Warner Bros. will distribute in the U.K. Cornerstone Films is handling international sales and distribution and is selling the film at Cannes. Dream Horse is the true story of Jan Vokes, a cleaner and bartender, who decides on a whim to breed and rear a race horse in her Welsh village. She eventually persuades her neighbors to invest in her crazy scheme, and together they name the new foal Dream Alliance. With little experience but a lot of a heart, the collective of townspeople follow “Dream” as he rises through the ranks against all the odds, ultimately pitting all of them against the racing elite in a nail-biting race for the national championship. The U.S. deal was negotiated by Kent Sanderson, Camille Bertrand and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street, Ryan Heller from Topic Studios with Film4 and Raw.

Posted on May 5th, 2019 by Frederik

The Mirror has published an article on Janet Vokes and her book “Dream Horse”, which will be adapted into a film starring Toni Collette: A barmaid who beat the odds to breed a champion racehorse has shared her story – and it is going to be made into a film. Janet Vokes was pulling pints in a working men’s club when she ­overheard a conversation about ­owning a racehorse. “That conversation changed my life,” says Janet, 65. Determined to prove that anyone could succeed in the sport of kings, she bought a mare for £350 and paired it with a pedigree stallion. She then helped create a syndicate of 23 ­residents from her village in a historic mining area. Each paid £10 a week to raise the foal on a slag heap allotment. Dream Alliance went on to win the Welsh National in 2009 and has already featured in an award-winning Netflix documentary, Dark Horse. But Janet has now told her own personal story in a book, Dream Horse, which was released last month. A film of the same name is to follow – featuring an all-star cast. Janet says: “I had given thought to writing a book after the documentary but didn’t have the time. It has taken around a year to put the book together. “It tells the story from my childhood, how I met my husband and then there was Dream. “The documentary was fantastic but I feel like I had more of a say over the book.” In the film, Janet will be played by Toni Collette, from Sixth Sense and Muriel’s Wedding. Homeland’s Damian Lewis stars as a member of the syndicate in the South Wales village of Cefn Fforest. Bafta-winning director Euros Lyn is also on board and has called Janet an ­“extraordinary heroine”. Janet says: “Dream turned our lives upside down and took us places we’d never even dreamed of.” Dream competed in the 2010 Grand National but pulled up after the ­seventh fence. He ran in seven more races but was unplaced and was later diagnosed with a lung condition. He was retired in 2012 and today ­enjoys a slower pace of life in Somerset.

Posted on March 13th, 2019 by Frederik

According to Deadline, Toni Collette and Damian Lewis are to lead cast in UK race horse feature “Dream Horse”. Euros Lyn, director on Sherlock, Happy Valley and Black Mirror, is helming the true story about a woman’s dream to breed and raise a champion racehorse on the allotment of her modest Welsh village. Little Miss Sunshine star Collette will take the lead role of Jan Vokes, a middle-aged barmaid at a working men’s club who recruits her initially reluctant husband Brian and local accountant Howard Davies (Lewis) to help her bring together a syndicate of local people to breed a foal – which they name Dream Alliance. On the racetrack, he proves himself to be more than a match for the multi-million pound racehorses he comes up against, transforming the lives of those around him. Script comes from Neil McKay (Appropriate Adult) and the team is gearing up for a spring shoot. Warner Bros has snapped up UK distribution rights and Cornerstone Films — coming off a hit Sundance with films including Blinded By The Light, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and After The Wedding — will handle international sales. Backers include Film4, Ingenious Media, Ffilm Cymru Wales. Katherine Butler (American Animals) will produce with Tracy O’Riordan (The Selfish Giant). Executive producers are Piers Vellacott for Raw, Daniel Battsek and Ollie Madden for Film4, Peter Touche and Stephen Dailey for Ingenious Media, Pauline Burt for Ffilm Cymru Wales. The true story behind the film was previously told in the documentary Dark Horse, also backed by Film4. It won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance before being released by Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S.

Lyn said, “I grew up in the Welsh valleys where everyone knows this story – it’s a local legend. The moment I read Neil’s brilliant script I knew I had to direct this funny and moving film. Casting Toni Collette as Jan Vokes, our extraordinary heroine and Damian Lewis as Howard Davies, her intriguingly conflicted accomplice is my own dream come true. They’re the perfect actors to tell this true story of how against all the odds, an ordinary woman inspires her community to go on the ride of a lifetime and rediscover a sense of hope.” Producer Butler added, “I fell in love with this story when I first heard about Louise Osmond’s documentary – and when I met the real people involved, I was hugely inspired by both their steely determination and their joyous outlook on life. Our brilliant writer Neil McKay spent hours with many of the people whose story this is to craft an exciting, moving and often hilarious script. And Euros Lyn’s immediate and passionate response to the script completely convinced us that he was born to direct this film. We couldn’t be more thrilled with our dream casting of Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, and together with the support of all our financiers, the local welsh cast and crew and the horse racing community, we are off to the races!”