News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) is set to star in Justin Chadwick's (The Other Boleyn Girl) The Lady And The Panda.
Chadwick has written the script with Laura Bickford (Beasts Of No Nation) and Holly Gent Palmo (Me And Orson Welles), based on the writings of explorer Ruth Harkness. She was a 1930s socialite living the high life in New York who unexpectedly decided to take over her late husband's expedition to China. In doing so, Harkness became the first person to bring a live giant panda out of the country and to the rest of the world's attention. Travelling with a Chinese guide named Quentin Young, she went into the Himalayas to find an orphaned baby panda before bringing it to America, but after the sensation initially died down, she began to realise the benefit of preserving the animals in their natural habitat.
Chadwick has the backing of both UK and Chinese companies and is currently shooting in Sichuan, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ferguson has a few films either on the way or in the works, including science fiction thriller Life, due out on 12 May next year, Tomas Alfredson's (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) crime drama The Snowman, arriving 13 October the same year, and a planned return as Ilsa Faust in the next Mission Impossible movie, which has yet to set a date.