Whitney Peak Joins Shira Haas & Sarah Paulson For Aisling Walsh’s ‘Ethel’; Bankside Films Scores A Number Of International Pre-Sales For Biopic About Pioneering Conductor — Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: Whitney Peak (Hocus Pocus 2Molly’s GameGossip Girl) has been cast in Aisling Walsh’s Ethel, alongside the previously announced cast of Shira Haas and Sarah Paulson. Bankside Films first launched the title, which is currently in pre-production, earlier this year and has completed a number of international pre-sales in Cannes.

The project, which is a true story based on a screenplay by Celeste Parr, has sold to Benelux (Imagine), Canada (Sphere Films), Eastern Europe (HBO), Middle East (Front Row) and Spain (Divisa Red).

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The film is based on the untold true story of Ethel Stark and her Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra, who together demolished class and racial barriers and shattered the glass ceiling for women in orchestra music under an international spotlight.

Haas (BodiesUnorthodoxThe Zookeeper’s Wife), who is currently making her London West End stage debut with Opening Night, will play the title role of Ethel. She was a fierce talent and musical prodigy, determined to realise her talent and fulfil her dream. As with many trailblazers, she was ahead of her time and must break through the social boundaries of the 1940s – a world which doesn’t recognize her talent because she is “only a woman.”

With her fiancée now at war in Europe, Ethel feels alone and must go into battle by herself. But she is not alone: women just like her from every walk of life are struggling to be heard while they chase their own dreams.

Bowen (Paulson) is a corseted socialite who desires more than tea parties and country clubs. Grant (Peak) is a young black musician, confined by race as much as gender and is finding it impossible to make her way. Each has music inside of them and when guided by Ethel, they organize an informal all-female troupe of musicians.

Ethel is produced by Marie-Claude Poulin (Brooklyn) and Martina Niland (Sing Street) for Port Pictures.

Bankside Films will be shopping the project to buyers in Cannes this week and is handling international sales. U.S. rights are being co-repped by Bankside and CAA.

Paulson is repped by CAA. Peak is repped by CAA, Canopy Media Partners, Play Management and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner Auerbach Hynick Jaime LeVine Sample & Klein.

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