Saoirse Ronan is taking on another immigration-themed drama for her next project. According to Deadline, the Irish actress will be starring in Sweetness in the Belly,a film adaptation of the bestselling novel from Camilla Gibb. If Sweetness in the Bellyis half as mesmerizing as Brooklyn,then this film will be one to anticipate. (Not to mention, immigration is kind of a timely subject right now… you know, even more than it always is.)
Ronan will play Lily Abdal, a woman who was orphaned in Africa as a child only to return to her English homeland as an adult refugee, fleeing from a civil war. Once there, she is caught between the homeland of her birth parents and the home she grew up in. Lily quickly becomes the heart of a London community of disenfranchised immigrants, working to reunite people with their family members. However, Lily’s mission isn’t purely altruistic; also connected is a passionate romance she has with idealistic doctor Aziz.
The project will reunite Ronan with her Brooklynproducers Alan Moloney and his Parallel Films. The two films seem to share many of the same themes, especially with the central tension of a woman torn between two potential homes.
Sweetness in the Bellywill be directed by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay “Zee” Berhane Mehari from a script by Laura Phillips. Mehari made serious waves with his debut feature film, Difret, which was executive produced by Angelina Jolie and went on to win the World Cinematic Dramatic Audience Award at 2014’s Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award at Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section.
Susan Mullen of Parallel Films will also be producing, along with Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny of Sienna Films, who optioned the novel and developed the screenplay. Mehret Mandefro and Adrian Sturges will serve as executive producers.
Kawaja and Sereny called Ronan their “dream first choice” for the role of Lily, adding: “It’s so wonderful to have her on board. We are thrilled to begin to realise the project, especially as the film is even more relevant now then it was when we started this journey.”
Sweetness in the Bellywill start shooting in September.