lucagEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has set Luca Guadagnino to direct A Reliable Wife, an adaptation of the Robert Goolrick novel that has a script by Se7en scribe Andrew Kevin Walker. It’s the first deal made for the filmmaker by WME, which just signed the Italian director who was last repped by ICM. The lead role has been eyed as catnip for actresses.

reliableA Reliable Wife is a romantic thriller set in Wisconsin in 1908, where a rich widower’s ad for a reliable wife is answered not by a matronly plain Jane he expected but rather a gorgeous woman with a secret past who plays to slowly poison him and inherit his estate. He, in turn, has plans for her that are also surprising. This is the project that Sam Taylor-Johnson was set to direct before she stepped out to helm Fifty Shades Of Grey. Both of those projects were developed by Michael De Luca, who in March transitions from producer to join the studio and share the president of production title with Hannah Minghella. He will remain producer on those projects that are set at Sony.

The plan is to shoot the film next winter, so it is possible that Guadagnino will take on another film before this one. He’s best known for lo sono l’amore, the Oscar nominated Italian film that starred Tilda Swinton. He also produced and co-directed the docu Bertolucci On Bertolucci.