DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Director Sally El Hosaini’s new feature Unicorns will begin principal photography in the U.K. this October, with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s Maven Screen Media and Philip Herd’s Chromatic Aberration financing and producing.
Oscar Nominee Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) is also on board as executive producer.
The feature is described as a cross-cultural romance set against a secretive subculture in London, revolving around a queer South Asian nightclub performer living a double life, and a young, single father who works as a mechanic. When their paths collide, a dramatic search for identity is sparked.
Actor James Krishna Floyd, who also wrote the screenplay, will co-direct with El Hosaini for their third collaboration.
“This is a very personal story for me with the themes of dual culture clash, sexuality, fatherhood and forbidden romance originating from my own experiences,” he said.
Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, X Men: Apocalypse) will star as the single father with the casting search underway for an authentic, queer South Asian actor for the other. Renowned Gaysian performer Britain’s first out Muslim Drag Queen’ Asifa Lahore is the consultant and will also executive produce.
Sally El Hosaini’s first feature My Brother the Devil won prizes at Sundance, Berlin and the London Film Festival. Her hotly anticipated second feature The Swimmers is opening Toronto International Film Festival and is being tipped as one of Netflix’s big awards contender this year.
“This unconventional love story resonated deeply with me and I’m excited to be bringing it to the screen with authenticity, sensitivity and humour,” she said.
“We are blown away by Sally’s spectacular work, and her ability to create colourful worlds and find joy in the most challenging situations,” said Styler, Rattray and Herd.
“It is a great honour to help her and James on their third collaboration, and to tell a story where love overcomes all barriers.”