Production is underway in the UK on Joy, a Netflix feature based on the true story of the world’s first in vitro fertilisation baby, starring Bill Nighy, James Norton and Thomasin McKenzie.
Screen can reveal an exclusive first look at the film, above.
The film is directed by the UK’s Ben Taylor, who has previously directed episodes of Netflix’s Sex Education; with a script by Bafta-winning writer Jack Thorne, who co-created the story with his wife Rachel Mason.
Joy is produced by Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey of the UK’s Wildgaze; with executive producer Cameron McCracken for Pathe. The film is a UK production, operating under Equity.
Spanning from 1968 to 1978, the film will follow three trailblazers facing opposition from the church, state, media and medical establishment, in their pursuit of the world’s first ‘test tube baby’, Louise Joy Brown. The three figures are a young nurse, a visionary scientist and an innovative surgeon, played by McKenzie, Norton and Nighy respectively.
“I am a lifelong Jack Thorne fan, and it has been such a thrill to work with him and Rachel on my first feature film,” said Taylor. ”As the proud father to two boys only made possible by IVF, this is a story extremely close to my heart. It’s an honour to bring to life the journey of this heroic trio, whose world-changing work was only achieved in the face of unimaginable opposition. Thomasin, James and Bill – together with the rest of the cast – are an embarrassment of riches. I’m delighted that Pathe, Wildgaze and Netflix entrusted me with this brilliant story.”
“It took Rachel and I seven rounds of IVF to have Elliott, so when the opportunity came to tell the story of the pioneers, I jumped at the chance and suggested Rachel might like to jump too,” added Thorne. ”The more we discovered, the more amazed we were, at the audacity of the science and the lack of support from the scientific community. It is an incredible story. Working on this with our incredible cast, wonderful director Ben and the brilliant producers at Wildgaze, Pathe and Netflix has been a joy.”
Dwyer and Posey’s Wildgaze is best known for prestige award-winning UK features including An Education with Carey Mulligan and Brooklyn with Saoirse Ronan.