The BBC have begun trailing the new one-off drama from acclaimed writer Richard Curtis.
Mary & Martha stars Hilary Swank as Mary and Brenda Blethyn as Martha, an American and an English woman who have little in common apart from the one terrible thing – they both lose sons to malaria. Mary takes her young son, George (Lux Hanley Jardine), to Africa, promising adventure and fun when he contracts the disease, while Martha’s son, Ben (Sam Claflin), dies while working as a volunteer in Mozambique. Mary returns to America and begins a one woman campaign to raise awareness of the disease – while Martha herself volunteers at the orphanage where Ben worked.
Both of them find their new lives hard and complicated but finally, together, the two immensely different women join forces, and go on an epic journey to try and make a difference in the world.
Richard Curtis and Phillip Noyce mix comedy and humanity in with the tragedy and seriousness of the subject matter, with two great actresses who are top of their game.
Writer Richard Curtis says: “I’ve always wanted to write a film about the fact that when you have children, there’s always the possibility of extreme joy and extreme sorrow. And over the years working with Comic Relief, I have come across the tragedy of the startling number of lives taken by malaria every year. This film gives me a chance to write about that too – as well as working with a team of people I hugely admire – Brenda Blethyn, Hilary Swank and the great Australian director, Phillip Noyce.”
Hilary Swank, playing Mary, says: “I‘ve long admired Phillip’s work and we’ve been wanting to work together for years. When he shared with me this extraordinary story and I read Richard’s beautiful script, I was inspired by the creative possibilities of working with them and Working Title to tell this remarkable journey of two women from completely different worlds who collided then forged an unbreakable friendship full of humour and grace. I look forward to working with them and the fantastic Brenda Blethyn on this special film.”
Brenda Blethyn, playing Martha, says: “This long overdue story of Mary & Martha is Richard Curtis at his best. A remarkable story of the courage, dignity and humour of two very different women in their effort to make the world a better place. I’m thrilled to be working with the wonderfully inspiring director Phillip Noyce, and to be sharing the screen with the classy and totally brilliant Hilary Swank. What more do you need to know?”
Mary & Martha can be seen on Friday 1st March at 8.30pm on BBC1