EXCLUSIVE: Ben Kingsley is to star as Salvador Dali in Mary Harron’s (American Psycho) feature biopic Dali Land, I can reveal. The movie will chart the unusual marriage of the surrealist artist and his domineering wife and muse, Gala. Oscar-winner Kingsley will star alongside Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) who will play Gala; fast-riser Frank Dillane (Fear The Walking Dead), who will play a young art enthusiast; and Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) who will be Dalí’s right hand man, Captain Moore.

Bankside Films will launch sales on the hot package next week at the Cannes film festival. Harron, who will direct from her screenplay co-written with John C Walsh, is coming off feature Charlie Says, starring Matt Smith about the Manson family women, and Netlix’s mini-series Alias Grace.

Set in New York and Spain in 1973, Dali Land is told through the eyes of James (Dillane), a young gallery assistant who helps Dalí prepare for a big show. While James hopes to learn some of the secrets of great art from one of the 20th Century’s greatest painters, he instead falls down a rabbit hole of glittering parties, searing personal battles and an art world awash with money and intrigue.

The film was developed by American Psycho producer Edward R. Pressman of Pressman Film and entrepreneur David O. Sacks. Pressman and Sacks previously partnered on Jason Reitman’s Thank You For Smoking. The film is set to shoot in Canada and Spain in November/December 2018. Christina Piovesan in Toronto and Charlotte and Philip Colbert of Popcorn Films in London serve as producers. Pressman, Sacks, Daniel Brunt, Jon Katz, Hannah Leader, Michael R. Newman, and Sam Pressman executive produce.

Director, Bankside Films, Stephen Kelliher, told us, “Dali is one of the most fascinating and compelling artists and personalities of modern times. This highly compelling glimpse into his private world, coupled with the immense talents of Mary Harron and the first-class cast she has assembled will undoubtedly captivate and excite audiences around the world.”

Producer, Edward R. Pressman added, “I’m proud to be working with the visionary Mary Harron again on Dalí Land. I believe Mary’s sense of cosmic irony is a perfect match for a story about the flamboyant, contradictory and larger than life Salvador Dalí. I love the team we’ve assembled and can’t wait to see Sir Ben Kingsley and Lesley Manville embody the iconic partnership of Dalí and Gala.”

As we broke last month, Bankside’s slate at Cannes will also include Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville drama Normal People.