Mamma Mia! Helmer Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Herself’ Adds Cast


Cornerstone Films has boarded sales on “Herself,” the female-driven movie from “Mamma Mia!” and “The Iron Lady” helmer Phyllida Lloyd.

Irish actor Clare Dunne, who starred in Lloyd’s all-female theater production of “Henry IV,” will play a single mother determined to build her own home with a free online plan, rebuilding her life in the process. Dunne co-wrote the screenplay with Malcolm Campbell (“What Richard Did”).

Harriet Walter (“Rocketman”) and Conleth Hill (“Game of Thrones”) have also joined the cast.

“The Favourite” producer Element Pictures developed the film with Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s shingle Merman. Element’s Ed Guiney and Rory Gilmartin will produce with Horgan. Screen Ireland, BBC Films and the BFI are backing the film. Mountford, Element’s Andrew Lowe, BBC Films’ Rose Garnett, Mary Burke from the BFI, and Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson are exec producing.

Dunne will play Sandra, the mother of two young daughters, with very little income and no savings, who sets out to build her family a safe, happy home. She must also escape the grip of her possessive ex-husband and keep him away from her and her girls. The lionhearted Sandra draws together a community of friends to support her and lend a helping hand.

Heads of department include cinematographer Tom Comerford (“Michael Inside”), production designer Tamara Conboy (“Once”), three time Academy Award nominated costume designer Consolata Boyle (“Victoria & Abdul”), and editor Rebecca Lloyd (“My Name Is Lenny”).

Production gets underway in Dublin, Ireland, in April. Thompson and Mark Gooder’s Cornerstone will be talking to buyers about the project at Cannes.

“This is a wonderful story of a single mum who, literally, decides to take her future and her children’s future into her own hands,” the Cornerstone founders said. “It’s empowering, moving and uplifting and its timely themes reflect the kind of material that has universal market appeal. Phyllida Lloyd’s track record as a director speaks for itself and we’re excited to go on this journey.”

Cornerstone heads into Cannes after a busy start to the year. It launched five films at Sundance including “After the Wedding” and then kicked off the presales effort on Josephine Decker’s Elisabeth Moss-starrer “Shirley” in Berlin.