American legend Martin Scorsese is set to lend his singular filmic eye to a British tale, signing on as a producer for car biopic Silver Ghost. He joins fellow producer Lord Richard Attenborough (Ghandi) on the long-gestating project, which will delve into the true story behind the Rolls Royce car company. Beginning around 1900, it will follow the lives of founders Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, as well as touching on car enthusiast Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, whose secret love affair with his long-time secretary ultimately led to the creation of the brand’s signature hood ornament, “The Spirit of Ecstasy.” Hit the jump for more.
Per Variety’s Showblitz blog, Silver Ghost is to be a co-production between Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and Zuma Productions. Anthony Haas will also produce alongside Scorsese and Attenborough.
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu (aka John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu) was an early proponent of the then-fledgling auto trade. He commissioned friend Charles Sykes to create the hood ornament for his personal Rolls Royce, and Sykes chose to use Eleanor Thornton, Montagu’s long-time secretary and lover as his model. When the company itself came to Sykes to create a standardized hood decoration, he chose simply to modify his previous creation.
Based on the Showblitz article, the “love affairs of the famed Beaulieu family” seem poised to play a significant role in the film. And given that Montagu was, amidst his love affair with Thornton, compelled to marry another out of familial obligation, it seems like ripe dramatic territory.
It’s another intriguing project for Scorsese. After earning massive acclaim for cinema lover-letter Hugo this past year, the Oscar winner is gearing up to shoot the financial thriller The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio.