Haifaa Al Mansour’s debut feature Wadjda landed on multiple Disslovers’ lists of the best films of 2013, and while the struggles she went through in getting the movie made in her native Saudi Arabia all but guaranteed that she wouldn’t be directing of whole series of Saudi Arabian films, that’s not going to prevent Al Mansour from finding employment. Back in February, Al Mansour entered into negotiations with the independent company Gidden Media to direct Emma Jensen’s screenplay A Storm In The Stars, about the problematic romance between Percy Shelley and the teenage Mary Wollstonecraft (whom he’d later marry). Apparently, the talks went well, because today The Hollywood Reporter reports that Gidden Media and Al Mansour have found their Mary Shelley: Elle Fanning.
Shelley’s life—and specifically the circumstances which led her to write the horror novel Frankenstein—have been the subject of movies before, most notably Ken Russell’s Gothic and Ivan Passer’s Haunted Summer. But A Storm In The Stars is reportedly more focused on the young Mary’s relationship with Shelley, and with the culture of her time. The project’s producer Amy Baer has described the film as overtly feminist, which makes both Al Mansour and Fanning good fits with the material. Originally, the plan was to begin shooting later this year, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie still needs financing. Hiring Fanning should help with that process, clearing the way for a shoot sometime in 2015.