Last Updated on April 16, 2020

How exciting: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Keeley Hawes (The Durrells in Corfu) star together in an upcoming period drama.

Keeley Hawes (L), Patricia Neal und Roald Dahl (C), Hugh Bonneville (R)

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The pair will lead the cast as Roald Dahl, the British children’s book author, and Patricia Neal, his movie star wife, in “An Unquiet Life.”

The “warm, funny and powerful” script set in Britain’s countryside tells the story of the world’s most beloved children’s author, Roald Dahl (Hugh Bonneville) and his “electric” relationship with film star wife, Patricia Neal (Keeley Hawes).

Filmed in Surrey, England, the movie also stars “Outlander’s” Sam Heughan as Paul Newman, Sam Phillips (The Crown) as a doctor, and Michael Jibson (1917) as Pete Perkins.

Dahl (1916 – 1990) is known around the world for his timeless books, some of which have been adapted into family movies, including Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. He also enjoyed a successful career in television, and wrote the screenplay for the Edwardian-set period drama Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, an adaptation of his 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Kentucky-born Neal (1926–2010) acted from childhood, and went on to become an Oscar and Tony Award winner. Known for her roles in “Hud” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Neal also appeared in a number of period dramas. In The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the pilot movie for “The Waltons,” Neal starred as an unforgettable Olivia Walton (recast with Michael Learned for the series). Later, she shined in the role of the dying widowed mother on “Little House on the Prairie” in the 2-episode Remember Me, and played the grandmother in the 1993 TV series Heidi.

Keeley Hawes says that the story is “extraordinary, and I’m so excited to be part of it.”

In 1962 Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal retreated to the English countryside to bring up their joyful and expanding young family (they had 5 children over the course of their marriage). The unlikely pairing of an Academy Award-winning actress and a burgeoning children’s author, Dahl and Neal put their relationship to the test, revealing a love more painful than anything Roald Dahl ever wrote about in his books.

“Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal seemingly had it all until an unimaginable event threatened to tear their family apart,” Director John Hay said.

However, for this remarkable pair, redemption and strength sees them changed forever.

Stay tuned for the release date, expected in 2020.

The movie is directed by John Hay (Lost Christmas). Hay also wrote the film alongside David Logan. The picture is produced by Donall McCusker (The White Princess), Adrian Politowski (The Artist) and others. The film is an Align/Goldcrest presentation, produced by Atticus Films and financed by Align, LipSync Productions LLP and Goldcrest Features Inc.

If you enjoyed this post, wander over to The Period Films List. You’ll also want to read about the new period drama Louis Wain, a biopic about the Victorian era British artist.