Filmmaker tapped for period drama.

Peter Webber (‘Emperor,’ ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’) has closed a deal to direct a big screen adaptation of Rose Tremain’s 2004 novel ‘The Colour,’ reports THR.

Set in the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s, the epic tale charts the fortunes of newly married immigrants Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, who have travelled from Norfolk to New Zealand with Joseph’s widowed mother in search of new beginnings and prosperity. Finding life as a small farmer more difficult than he expected, Joseph sets out to make his fortune in the Gold Rush. It’s a disastrous decision that will change their lives forever.

Webber is aiming to shoot the period drama in New Zealand’s South Island next year. Ray Marshall of Festival Films and Nukuhau Films’ Tim Coddington will produce.

“It’s an amazing novel, which has an enormous dramatic and visual canvas. Though it has a period setting, the story is about greed and despair, which gives it a real contemporary resonance,” Webber said.

Marshall added, “It’s taken nine years to bring this wonderful book to the screen. It’s an extraordinary story, and we are delighted that Peter has agreed to direct. Tim and I believe that his incredible visual sensitivity makes him the perfect person to bring the book to life.”