Adapted by Simon Farnaby based on the book he co-penned with Scott Murray, The Phantom of the Open follows Maurice Flitcroft (Oscar winner Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist who managed to gain entry to the British Open Golf Championship Qualifying in 1976 and subsequently shot the worst round in Open history, becoming a folk hero in the process.
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The movie also reteams SPC with Sally Hawkins, who starred in its 2016 title Maudie and 2013’s Blue Jasmine, the latter notching her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 86th Academy Awards. The Phantom of the Open also marks a continued artistic relationship between Hawkins and Roberts; the pair worked together on his 2019 directorial debut, Eternal Beauty, and both starred in Richard Ayoade’s 2010 coming-of-age film Submarine.
BAFTA Award nominee Rhys Ifans also stars.
Farnaby is also the writer of the global box-office success Paddington 2, for which he was nominated for two BAFTAs and won a British Academy Children’s Award for Best Children’s Film.
“A jaw-dropping true story,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement. “We know audiences will be delighted by this underdog tale, brought to life by director Craig Roberts with the incomparable Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins, comedic and humane, both at career peak.”
Roberts added: “I’m extremely grateful that SPC share our love for Maurice and his wonderful story. They are the perfect fit for this project. I’m very proud of what our cast and crew have created. I hope that Maurice’s superpowers make the world a better place.”
Sarah Monteith of Baby Cow Productions said, “SPC are the perfect partners to bring the joy of this beautifully optimistic movie to audiences around the world.”
The deal was negotiated by Cornerstone on behalf of the filmmakers.
The Phantom of the Open is a co-production between Water & Power Productions and Baby Cow Productions, and is produced by Kate Glover, Nichola Martin, and Tom Miller. EPs are Christine Langan and James Swarbrick together with Cornerstone Films’ Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder, Ingenious Media’s Peter Touche and Christelle Conan, Mary Burke for the BFI, and BBC Film’s Rose Garnett and Emma Duffy. The film was developed by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery and BBC Film. Funding came from the BFI, BBC Film, and Ingenious Media.
“SPC has long been the home of the best in independent filmmaking, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be teaming up with them on this on fantastic movie,” the producers said in a joint statement.
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