The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was one of 2012′s sleeper hits. It was the perfect summer counter-programming to the blockbusters inundating theaters. John Madden‘s film is a nice, fluffy piece that has charming actors in a story featuring a solid balance of comedy and romance with a little bit of drama thrown in for good measure. This mixture ended up yielding $136 million worldwide on a reported budget of $10 million, and that’s good enough for Fox Searchlight to make The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 the first sequel in the company’s history. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Tena Desae, and Lillete Dubey are all set to return, and they’ll be joined by Richard Gere, David Strathairn, and Tamsin Greig (Episodes).
Hit the jump for the press release, which contains the synopsis for the movie. Ol Parker and Madden will return to write and direct, respectively.
Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis and Participant Media Executive Vice President of Production Jonathan King announced today that production on The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 has begun in India. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) has returned to helm the follow-up companion feature to the 2012 film from an original screenplay by Ol Parker, from a story by Parker and Madden. Blueprint Pictures returns producing the film.
The cast has reunited for the film including stars Judi Dench (Evelyn), Maggie Smith (Muriel), Bill Nighy (Douglas), Dev Patel (Sonny), Celia Imrie (Madge), Ronald Pickup (Norman), Penelope Wilton (Jean), Diana Hardcastle (Carol), Tena Desae (Sunaina) and Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Kapoor). Additional cast making their debut include Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Tamsin Greig. Blueprint Pictures’ Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin will produce the film, with Participant’s Jeff Skoll serving as executive producer. Fox Searchlight Pictures has worldwide rights and will co-finance the film in association with Participant Media and Image Nation Abu Dhabi.
“We’re thrilled to reunite our creative and delightful Marigold Hotel family along with some intriguing new ‘guests’,” said Lewis. “With John Madden’s direction and Ol Parker’s original screenplay, we look forward to further exploring our characters’ rich stories and triumphs.”
King added, “We’re delighted to be reteaming with our good friends at Fox Searchlight and the incredibly talented filmmakers for another chapter in this inspirational story. We believe audiences will be as happy as we are to spend more time at The Marigold, as this remarkable cast continues to demonstrate that life can be an adventure at any age.”
“What are the odds of being able to re-assemble this extraordinary group of actors and filmmakers, let alone to add to their number?” said Broadbent. “We found a worldwide audience we never dreamed of for the first, and we feel very lucky to have the chance now to bring them this companion film.”
“This film presented us with an irresistible opportunity: to continue a story we realized we had only just begun. Not to tell the same story again, but to pursue where the lives of these very different characters lead, with an audience which already holds them in great affection,” said Madden.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was released in Spring 2012 to record-breaking business in the UK and US, earning more than $135 million worldwide, along with a host of critical acclaim and accolades including Best Picture nominations from The Hollywood Foreign Press, BAFTA, and The Screen Actors Guild (Ensemble Award). The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 marks the first sequel ever released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tena Desae). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 will be overseen by Senior Vice President of Production Zola Mashariki and Creative Executive Taylor Friedman for Fox Searchlight and Executive Vice President of Production Jonathan King for Participant Media.