EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Weisz is in talks to reunite with director Yorgos Lanthimos in The Favourite. The two recently worked together to much acclaim in The Lobster opposite Colin Farrell and John C. Reilly. Weisz would be joining The Favourite in the role that Kate Winslet was originally attached to star in as Queen Anne’s close confidante Sarah opposite Emma Stone and Olivia Colman.
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 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.
Scarlet Films’ Ceci Dempsey and Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney and 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 also produced Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, starring Brie Larson.
Film4 and the BFI developed The Favourite. Filming starts in spring 2016.
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.
Weisz has a number of projects coming up including Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth alongside Michael Caine; the untitled Donald Crowhurst project alongside Colin Firth; as well as the untitled Joshua Marston project opposite Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover; and Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between The Oceans which co-stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander and has been generating spectacular buzz.
As Deadline exclusively revealed last month, she is also in talks to star in Fox’s remake of the brooding psychological thriller My Cousin Rachel.
Weisz is repped by WME, Independent, Brillstein and Hirsch Wallerstein.