Advanced Television

Bonafide Films developing Folio with Straughan

February 21, 2024

Bonafide Films and Runaway Fridge Productions are working with BAFTA and BIFA-award-winning British screenwriter Peter Straughan on new feature, Folio.

The film is inspired by the true story of the assembly of Shakespeare’s first folio – the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays, produced seven years after his death and considered to be one of the great wonders of the literary world.

Four hundred years on from its original publication, Folio follows the journey of Shakespeare’s former Kings Men colleagues – actors John Heminges and Henry Condell – as they embark on a picaresque road trip through an England on the brink of Puritanism and gather the material to keep their friend’s work and memory alive.

As literati recently celebrated the anniversary of this publication, fundamental to modern storytelling, it’s widely believed that without Heminges and Condell’s dedication and perseverance, half of Shakespeare’s body of work that is globally revered today, would have been lost forever.

The screenplay, which is being developed with the support of Film4, is based on a story written by Straughan in collaboration with John and David Lightbody, who conceived the idea with their late father John Lightbody Snr. The film will be produced by Margery Bone’s Bonafide Films and Stevie Lee’s Runaway Fridge Productions.

Peter Straughan said: “When John and David first told me about Heminges and Condell, I was instantly drawn to the story of two retired actors on a tragi-comic journey across Elizabethan England, trying to hold onto their past glory in a shifting world that threatens to extinguish their great friend’s legacy and with it their way of life.”

Margery Bone, Managing Director, Bonafide added: “Peter is one of the best screenwriters in the business, and we are fortunate enough to be collaborating with him on a number of projects including the wonderful FOLIO which is such a timely story with the recent anniversary. To work with him and the incredibly knowledgeable John and David Lightbody on this script about the story of these little-known literary heroes is a real coup. Everybody knows of Shakespeare but very few know of Heminges and Condell, and yet they’re the reason that we are able to enjoy many of his plays over 400 years later – it feels good to give them the spotlight they so rightly deserve.”

Stevie Lee, MD of Runaway Fridge Productions said: “Shakespeare still has such a grip on our imaginations – through his works of course, but also through the mystery of his life. What would it have been like to actually know him, to have been in his orbit? I’m so pleased to be working with Peter again as we explore the legacy of this extraordinary man.”

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