Michael Winterbottom has written and is set to direct a new film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic World War I novel A Farewell To Arms starring Tom Blyth
Blyth, whose recent credits include The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and MGM+ series Billy the Kid, will play the role of volunteer ambulance driver Frederic Henry, who is wounded and falls in love with his nurse in Italy during the First World War.
The Fremantle-backed film is set to start shooting in Italy later next year and will be produced by Melissa Parmenter for Revolution Films with Winterbottom and Passenger’s Richard Brown as executive producers. The film is being made with support from Hemingway’s Estate, in a deal brokered by Fremantle’s Raffaella De Angelis.
Fremantle acquired True Detective and This England indie Passenger in December 2022, with the production company now part of Fremantle’s Global Drama division run by Christian Vesper. Fremantle also has an exclusive first-look deal with Winterbottom’s Revolution Films, and recently partnered with Brown and Winterbottom on the Sky Original drama This England.
Winterbottom’s credits include Cannes competition titles Welcome To Sarajevo, Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People as well as Golden Bear-winner In This World and most recently Shoshana.
Published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms was closely based on Hemingway’s own experience as a volunteer ambulance driver with the Italian Army on the Isonzo Front in WWI.
The film has been twice adapted for the big screen: in Frank Borzage’s 1932 Oscar-winning version starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes, and a 1957 version produced by David O’Selznick starring Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.
Winterbottom said: “Hemingway believed in paring a story down to the bare bones. He argued that a novel could be like an iceberg: the reader only sees the tip above the water but feels the bulk and weight of what lies below the surface. I want our film to be true to Hemingway’s approach – immediate, raw and natural – and I think in Tom Blyth we have found the perfect person to be Frederic Henry.