Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation star Rebecca Ferguson has come attached to Ruth Harkness biopic The Lady and the Panda.
Billed as a UK/Chinese co-production, we understand that filming is due to commence next month in China, with locations including the foothills of the Himalayas. Justin Chadwick will direct from a script penned by Laura Bickford and Holly Gent Palmo.
A 1930s New York socialite, Ruth Harkness stole headlines left, right, and center after becoming the first person to transport a live panda from China to the United States. Doing so wasn’t easy, of course. Soon after the passing of her wealthy husband, Harkness took over his planned expedition to China and, after partnering with local guide Quentin Young, the two travelled down the famous Yangtze river before coming across an orphaned baby panda that they later called Su Lin.
It’s a story that went on to become a nationwide sensation (“Pandamonium!”), though it wasn’t long before Harkness twigged on to one simple fact: animals are best preserved in their natural habitat. When all was said and done, Su Lin ended up at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Joe Simpson, Andrew Mann, Fiona Druckenmiller, Justin Brodle headline the team of producers attached.
The cameras will begin rolling on The Lady and the Panda next month. Ferguson, meanwhile, has lined up roles across Fox’s The Greatest Showman On Earth – also starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Michelle Williams – along with the as-yet-untitled Mission: Impossible 6 at Paramount.