'Feet In The Clouds'

No further news since the following article.

Variety brings an update on the Sinclair project with Christopher Eccleston (18 Aug 2009):
Sinclair's production company, Feet Films, has also signed up Loader to be exec producer on feature film "Feet in the Clouds." She is co-producing with Nicola Shindler from Manchester-based Red Productions in association with Boomerang Plus.

Sinclair wrote the screenplay based on the book of the same name by journalist Richard Askwith. She will direct and Christopher Eccleston is to play the role of Askwith.

The project has received pilot funding from the UKFC's New Cinema Fund. The Film Agency for Wales has also provided funding for screenplay development and production. Meanwhile, Limelight Productions is in talks to provide some equity for the $1 million budget film.

Preliminary report had appeared in February 2009, screendaily.com:
Sinclair in Berlin with Feet In The Clouds

11 February, 2009 | By Audrey Ward

London based film-maker Kate Sinclair is in Berlin shopping Feet In The Clouds a screenplay, which she wrote, based on the award winning novel of the same name by journalist Richard Askwith.

She also plans to direct the project with Christopher Eccleston lined up to play the role of Askwith.

Sinclair previously worked as a theatre director and as Film4's book scout. She discovered Vikas Swarup's (at the time unpublished) novel Q & A, on which Slumdog Millionaire was based and brought it to the UK company.

Feet In The Clouds follows Askwith as he takes part in the Bob Graham Round, a race that involves running 72 miles up and down mountains within 24 hours. The project is being pitched as Man On Wire meets Touching The Void.

The $2.2 million budget project which received funding from The Film Agency for Wales is hoping to start shooting in the summer. It will be a co-production between Feet Films Limited, Red Production Company and Boomerang Plus.

Note the halving of the budget since winter. Financing discussions could have been one of the reasons for the postponement. If the project stays afloat, one could probably expect filming next summer, a year later, both because of the planning and technical reasons.
A picture of Richard Askwith here.

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Alex's comments on the book:

The first impression would be that it doesn't immediately scream 'film'. The exploits of the runners are certainly fascinating, and as such could make incredible stories themselves. It doesn't answer the question though whether Chris Eccleston, playing Askwith, is needed as an actor with athletic leanings or an acting actor.

The book has a triple structure: It's linked with monthly reports from one sporting year, enhanced with historical/organisational/technical chapters plus features about some of the most prominent figures in fell-running, and, finally, Askwith's personal accounts of his own experiences (especially the multiple attempts to complete Bob Graham round, doing 42 summits in 24 hours).

The author mentions that one of the factors why the sport is relatively obscure, is that it can hardly be properly televised. Later, after discussing the history of fell-running as a parallel of British society's development the last hundred years throughout the book, he points out that while anyone would find it interesting and beneficial to get acquainted with this type of extreme sports, learn about the legendary runners, the only truly worthwhile way to study it would be from inside - participating in the races.

This evokes, in my opinion, a comparison to 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner', mental drama of which was incredible on paper, but lost most of its power when transferred to film - good pictures and a voice-over can't quite cover the inner progression.

The book doesn't suggest any answers, what way Mrs. Sinclair could have chosen, but there are definitely very interesting aspects, no matter if the focus will be more general - on man and nature, specific - on the sport, personal - from the author's p.o.v. (although he is just one of many passionate also-rans), or on something completely else. I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that Eccleston could actually run one of the races for real, either.