EXCLUSIVE: In the second sassy project we can reveal this morning in Cannes, Birdman star Andrea Riseborough and fast-rising Christopher Abbott (First Man) will lead Brandon Cronenberg’s sophomore feature Possessor.

Cronenberg’s 2012 body-horror debut Antiviral played at festivals including Cannes, Toronto and London and he has corralled a duo in hot form for his next movie with Abbott currently leading cast in George Clooney’s Hulu drama series Catch 22 and Riseborough currently in production on Amazon’s international drugs trade series ZeroZeroZero.

We understand shoot is due to kick off in early 2019 on the movie, which Arclight Films is launching world sales on in Cannes. Cronenberg is directing from a script he wrote about Tasya Vos (Riseborough), an agent for a secretive organization who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations for the benefit of high-paying clients. But something goes wrong on a routine job, and she soon finds herself trapped in the mind of an unwitting
suspect (Abbott) whose appetite for violence turns out to rival her own.

Producers are Fraser Ash (Into The Forest), Niv Fichman (Enemy), and Kevin Krikst (Closet Monster) of Antiviral outfit Rhombus Media, and Ben Wheatley’s regular collaborator Andy Starke (Free Fire) of Rook Films.

The film is being made with the participation of Telefilm Canada and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Elevation Pictures will distribute the film in Canada. Arclight’s Gary Hamilton and Ryan Hamilton will Executive Produce, alongside Steven Squillante and David U. Lee of Leeding Media, Noah Segal and Adrian Love of Elevation Pictures, and Tony Roman.

“Andrea and Chris are among the most exciting and versatile actors working today and are perfectly suited to bring Brandon’s characters to life,” said producer Niv Fichman. “We’re also thrilled to partner with Arclight and Leeding – they’re world class collaborators who are as passionate about Brandon’s unique vision as we are.”

Riseborough stars opposite Nicolas Cage in Cannes Directors Fortnight title Mandy and was recently seen in Armando Iannucci’s comedy The Death of Stalin and Fox Searchlight’s Battle of the SexesJames White and It Comes At Night star Abbott is on a tear. This fall he has a starring role in Damian Chazell’s First Man with Ryan Gosling, Tyrel for director Sebastian Silva and Piercing opposite Mia Wasikowska. Cronenberg remains in development on sci-fi thriller Dragon, which he is working on with Marvel Comics writer Dan Abnett.

Riseborough is repped by CAA, Independent Talent Group, Untitled Entertainment, and attorney Patti Felker. Abbott is also repped by CAA and Management 360. Cronenberg is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and ICM Partners.