EXCLUSIVE: Abbie Cornish (Limitless) and Caleb Landry Jones (Twin Peaks) have boarded the cast of Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Fox Searchlight and Film4 are co-financing the film, which is also set to star Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.
The premise sounds like a cracker. Furious that the local police have not caught her daughter’s killer, Mildred Hayes (McDormand) buys three billboards which she uses to goad the cops into action. Mildred reserves her greatest scorn for Sheriff Bill Willoughby (Harrelson). Willoughby’s hot-headed protégé, Officer Jason Dixon (Rockwell), identifies who he thinks is the killer and teams up with Mildred to wreak vigilante justice since he is certain that the guy killed someone.
Cornish will play Sheriff Willoughby’s wife Anne, while Landry Jones has been cast as Red, a low-rent advertising salesman who allows Mildred to rent the three controversial billboards. He soon finds himself embroiled in the ensuing controversy when Dixon attacks him.
Billboards was developed by Film4 at an early stage and will be produced by Blueprint Pictures’ Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin alongside McDonagh. Filming is set to start in April on location in North Carolina. The film will be co-financed equally by Film4 and Fox Searchlight, which will take worldwide distribution rights. Film4 will retain UK TV rights. CAA and Broadbent brokered the rights deal with Fox Searchlight and David Kosse and Harry Dixon negotiated the co-financing deal on behalf of Film4.
The pic sees McDonagh reunite with Cornish after the two worked together on Seven Psychopaths. Given McDonagh’s reputation for smart, sharp dialogue — he wrote and directed the terrific dramedy In Bruges with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson — the timely subject matter and increasingly stellar cast, expect this one to get plenty of attention when it comes out the other side. Blueprint also produced In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
Cornish has a number of interesting pics coming down the pipelines, including Iranian Embassy in London siege pic 6 Days opposite Mark Strong and Jamie Bell, as well as Dean Devlin’s Geostorm opposite Gerard Butler. She is repped by UTA.
Caleb Landry Jones is currently filming David Lynch’s eagerly-awaited return to Twin Peaks and also has a role opposite Tom Cruise in Doug Liman’s Mena. He is repped by CAA. Both Cornish and Landry Jones are also repped by Untitled Entertainment.