EXCLUSIVE: Emma Stone and Olivia Colman are in discussions to join The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos’ new feature The Favourite. The award-winning, heavyweight female cast circling the project underlines the extent to which Lanthimos, who scored rave reviews for The Lobster, has established himself as one of Europe’s most in-demand directors.

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara have written the script, while follows the political machinations behind the scenes during the reign of Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stuarts. The story takes place between the end of the 17th century and first years of the 18th century, when Anne reigned from 1702-1707. Colman, who has quietly emerged as one of the UK’s most sought-after actresses after a series of powerful turns in the likes of Broadchurch and Tyrannosaur, will play Queen Anne. Stone is lining up to play Abigail Masham, an impoverished, distant relative of Sarah, who gains a position at court tending to the Queen. The story follows the shifting balance of power between the lead characters as they jockey for influence.

HG
9 months
I love British period films, but this one sounds like a non-starter. I predict a pretty, pricey...
Vanessa (@vanessamoviefan)
9 months
So? I saw Brokeback Mountain in theatres and a bunch of people walked out. Brokeback Mountain is...
Lara
9 months
Yeah, there`s something jarring about seeing her name on the list.

Scarlet Films’ Ceci Dempsey and Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday — who produced The Lobster — will produce The Favourite. Element’s Andrew Lowe is exec producing. It’s been a banner year for Ireland-based Element, which is on a golden roll. This week the company celebrated winning the audience award at Toronto for Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, starring Brie Larson. Film4 and the BFI developed the script. Filming starts in Spring next year.

Lanthimos’ new project has been bubbling around throughout the summer and is one of the most-sought after projects in the marketplace. The producers are currently in talks with financiers.

Stone is repped by WME, Anonymous and PJ Shapiro, and Colman is repped by ICM Partners and United Agents.