Sutton Hoo: Hollywood star Cate Blanchett linked to film project
18:27 08 April 2014
A Hollywood A-lister has been linked to the lead role in a film project about the excavation of the Sutton Hoo burial grounds.
Oscar winner Cate Blanchett could play land owner Edith Pretty in The Dig.
The project, based on a John Preston novel of the same name, tells the story of the 1938-9 excavation of the grounds, near Woodbridge.
Archaeologist Basil Brown was hired by Mrs Pretty, whose late husband Frank owned the Sutton Hoo House estate.
During his dig he found a 27-metre seventh Century Saxon ship, thought to be the last resting place of King Raedwald.
The National Trust now looks after the burial site and the estate, while the British Museum was donated the find.
Susanne Bier, also an Oscar winner, is set to direct the period drama which is being produced by Gaby Tana and Clerkenwell Films with support from BBC Films.
Cate Blanchett, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2005 for The Aviator and best actor this year for Blue Jasmine, is said to be in talks about playing Mrs Pretty in the project.
A National Trust regional spokesman said: “We are yet to be contacted by the film company but we would be very happy to talk to them.”
Mike Argent, chairman of the Sutton Hoo Society, said: “We have not heard anything about plans for a film.
“However if there was something of that nature I would say ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.
“If we did have a lady like Ms Blanchett it could encourage people to come down to the site - often a film prompts people to come down by the coach-load to see where something was filmed.
“The book it is based on was written by the lady’s nephew, and he created some characters but it generally encapsulated what was going on in an easy to read manner.
“The concerns, if we had any, are what are they going to do in terms of filming and the impact it could have on the site itself, and public access to it.
“But hopefully it would show the site in a historical context and I hope it does it accurately and does not re-write history.
“As a society we will do our best to help out and be involved in it.
“There may be some budding thespians and others amongst our members who would love to be an extra.
“We do have a team who dress up in 1930s costumes with stage experience, though I don’t think my talents would appeal to them.”
The production team hope to start shooting the film later this year, according to industry publication ScreenDaily.