Neal Street News

Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy to star in The Magic Faraway Tree

Neal Street Productions, Elysian Film Group and Ashland Hill Media Finance have announced key casting for the upcoming film adaptation of Enid Blyton’s beloved children's classic, The Magic Faraway Tree. Adapted by BAFTA Award-winner Simon Farnaby (Wonka, Paddington 2), the movie will be directed by Ben Gregor (BritanniaCuckooBlack OpsFatherhood).

Based on The Faraway Tree series of novels for children, The Magic Faraway Tree follows Polly and Tim and their children Beth, Joe and Fran – a modern family who find themselves forced to relocate to the remote English countryside. Two-time Academy Award-nominee, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Winner Andrew Garfield (tick, tick... BOOM!, Hacksaw Ridge) will play Tim and Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award-winner Claire Foy (All of Us Strangers, Women Talking) will take on the role of Polly.

Soon after the family’s arrival in the countryside, the children discover a magical tree and its extraordinary and eccentric residents including treasured characters Moonface, Silky, Dame Washalot and Saucepan Man. At the top of the tree, they are transported to spectacular and fantastical lands and, through the joys and challenges of their adventures, the family learn to reconnect and value each other for the first time in years.

Principal photography will begin in June 2024, with additional casting currently underway. 

Simon Farnaby said: “To have two actors of the quality of Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy is a dream for any screenwriter. I have long admired their warmth, wit and lightness of touch. Plus they have the power to imbue their characters' complexities that I don’t have the power to write … I mean, even Enid Blyton might be impressed we got Spider-Man and the Queen…”

Ben Gregor added: “Andrew and Claire are exquisite performers and I feel so spoiled to have them for this film. They are the cornerstones of our big hearted world and the perfect people to bring our lovely script to life.”

Ashland Hill Media Finance is fully financing The Magic Faraway Tree. Palisades Park Pictures is handling worldwide sales, with CAA Media Finance co-repping US rights, and will bring the film to the Cannes Film Festival this month.

The film is produced by Academy Award-nominee Pippa Harris (Empire of Light1917Call the Midwife) and Nicolas Brown (BritanniaInformerPenny Dreadful) of Neal Street Productions, along with Danny Perkins (Greatest Days) of Elysian Film Group, and Jane Hooks (GoldaLiving).  Executive Producers include Ashland Hill Media Finance’s Simon Williams, Joe Simpson and Jonathan Bross and Palisades Park Pictures’ Tamara Birkemoe.

The film has been in development for several years, with Perkins, Harris and Brown working on the film when the former was running Studiocanal UK.

All3Media owned-Neal Street Productions is renowned for award-winning, commercially successful films, TV and theatre productions. Their 2019 feature, 1917, grossed over $380 million dollars at the box office and for over twelve years, Call the Midwife has dominated the TV landscape, with the recent Christmas special winning the ratings battle to be the most watched programme across the prestigious holiday period. Neal Street is currently in production on The Franchise starring Himesh Patel, Billy Magnussen and Richard E. Grant.

This announcement comes on the heels of Elysian Film Group’s major coup with its recent UK release of Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winner The Boy and The Heron, from Studio Ghibli, with partners Anonymous Content and Bleecker Street. The film made £1.79 million in its first week and is the second-highest opening of all time for a Japanese movie in the UK.  

Claire Foy is represented by Independent Talent Group and UTA. Andrew Garfield is represented by Gordon & French, CAA, ID and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.

Ben Gregor is represented by Curtis Brown Group and WME. Simon Farnaby is represented by Independent Talent Group and UTA.