Two of Europe's primo production players, STUDIOCANAL and Working Title, are teaming to produce thriller "TWO FACES OF JANUARY" the directorial debut of "DRIVE" scribe HOSSEIN AMINI.
KIRSTEN DUNST has joined VIGGO MORTENSEN and OSCAR ISAAC ("Drive") to complete key cast. As on their 2011 effort, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Working Title will produce and STUDIOCANAL finance, distributing in the U.K., Germany and France and selling the rest of the world, STUDIOCANAL chairman-CEO Olivier Courson said.
Tom Sternberg ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") will produce with Working Title's Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Robyn Slovo ("Tinker Tailor"). Sternberg originally had the rights to "Two Faces," which was once set up at Mirage, with Sidney Pollack and Anthony Minghella developing with Amini.
Written by Amini, who adapted a Patricia Highsmith novel of the same title, "Two Faces" rolls Oct. 1, shooting on location in Greece and Turkey, with some U.K. studio work, Bevan said.
Initially set in Athens, it centers on a con an (Mortensen) who kills a Greek policeman, quite possibly by accident. His wife (Dunst) and an American tutor (Isaac) help to extricate him from his bind. On the lam, the three flee Athens to the Greek islands and finally Istanbul.
"This is totally Patricia Highsmith's world, turning on the two male leads' complicated relationship, like 'Strangers on a Train' or 'The Talented Mr Ripley,'" said Ron Halpern, STUDIOCANAL, exex VP, international productions and acquisitions.
"Two Faces" is a "story about love dying: What it's like to fall out of love with someone you still feel a certain loyalty to," Amini told Variety.
Following on "Tinker Tailor," helmed by Swede Tomas Alfredson and Dan Mazer's "I Give It a Year," now in post, "Two Faces" continues STUDIOCANAL's new film-by-film relationship with Working Title.
Coming in at around "Tinker Tailor's" just-under $30 million budget, "Two Faces" won't need to rely on the U.S. market for initial financing.
"This is a really good European-location movie with a quasi-American story," Bevan said.
"With this sort of movie, and it's not dissimilar to 'Tinker,' you can get a great cast, a great script, a good director, you can shoot in a sensible amount of time, and in a sensible way," he added.
Amini drew Academy Award and WGA noms for Henry James adaptation "The Wings of the Dove."
"Honestly, this isn't about directing. This is about directing this film. I've wanted to do so for at least 15 years. It's been my one obsession," Amini said.
Mortensen is repped by Lynn Rawlins at the Rawlins Company, Dunst and Isaac by UTA's Theresa Peters.
Kirsten Dunst Photos
Established in May 1999, STUDIOCANAL theatrical UK has established a reputation for an innovative approach to distribution. A passion for film and commitment to creativity is central to STUDIOCANAL's activity in the UK market together with the desire to work collaboratively with our filmmakers to achieve the best possible results.
STUDIOCANAL is a subsidiary of the CANAL+ Group. It is one of Europe's leading companies in the market for co-production, acquisition, distribution and sale of international feature films. STUDIOCANAL is the only studio operating simultaneously in three main territories across Europe: France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The company distributes a total of more than 50 films a year throughout Europe. Additionally, STUDIOCANAL owns one of the most important libraries in the world, with more than 5,000 international titles.
STUDIOCANAL's production ambitions to date have included Rowan Joffe's debut feature BRIGHTON ROCK starring Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren; Joe Cornish's critically acclaimed ATTACK THE BLOCK, the first project to emerge from a partnership with Big Talk, Nick Murphy's debut feature THE AWAKENING starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton, Tomas Alfredson's award-winning cold war thriller TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley with Colin Firth, John Hurt, Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, Tom Hardy, Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Roger Lloyd Pack, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay and Mark Strong rounding out a powerhouse cast. Current projects include Ben Wheatley's Cannes hit SIGHTSEERS, Jeremy Lovering's IN FEAR, Michael Winterbottom's untitled Paul Raymond Project, the Coen's INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Susanne Bier's SERENA, Dan Mazer's hotly anticipated comedy I GIVE IT A YEAR and James Griffith's feature film directorial debut CUBAN FURY currently in Production.