Screen Daily has exclusively reported that Ralph Fiennes is set to direct the film about the life of legendary Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev called The White Crow starring Oleg Ivenko and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
The film is set to be based on the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life written by Julie Kavanagh, which will be adapted by screenwriter David Hare. BBC Films is developing the film, with Gabrielle Tana set to serve as producer under the Magnolia Mae Productions banner alongside Francois Ivernel’s Montebellow Productions. Executive producers for BBC Films are Joe Oppenheimer and Beth Pattinson. The film will chart the iconic dancer’s famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.
Oleg Ivenko has been cast as Rudolf Nureyev, while the report also confirms that joining him will be fellow dancer Sergei Polunin, Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova and French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos who will be playing the role of Clara Saint, the cultured woman who opened Nureyev’s eyes to the nouvelle vague Paris and helped choreograph his defection.
Speaking about the project, Ralph Fiennes said:
Ever since Julie Kavanagh gave me advance proofs of the early chapters of her biography of Nureyev, back in 1999, I have been inspired and moved by the story of his student years and his decision to defect to the West. This is a story of an uncompromising spirit, of homeland and ideologies that restrict, and of friendship. It is equally, a tale about the life and ballet culture he left behind in Russia. We have spent a very long time looking for our Rudolf Nureyev and are thrilled to have found the exceptional talents of dancer and actor Oleg Ivenko for this part.
Shooting for the film is set to commence this summer, with Fiennes looking to shoot on location in St Petersburg and Paris, including the iconic Mariinsky Theatre and the Palias Garner.