EXCLUSIVE: Coming off festival hit Call Me By Your Name, and the upcoming Suspiria remake, Italian helmer Luca Guadagnino is prepping to direct an untitled thriller penned by Steven Knight. I hear Oscar nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal are being courted to star in the project and have discussed with the director. Studiocanal would fully finance with a shooting start eyed for early 2018.
The story centers on two old friends, one a business titan and the other a journalist. Details are being kept under wraps, although we hear the film will be set in an exotic locale. There is also a strong female lead.
Guadagnino will also have a producer role. If deals make, Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch partner Adam Ackland and Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories partner Riva Marker would be involved, we hear, as will Studiocanal’s Ron Halpern.
This is a reteam for Guadagnino and Studiocanal which handled the director’s 2015 Venice title A Bigger Splash. Fox Searchlight released domestically. Call Me By Your Name was a critical hit that debuted in Sundance. Sony Pictures Classics released in North America. Guadagnino recently shot the Suspiria remake for Amazon Studios.
Cumberbatch next reprises his Dr Stephen Strange role for Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, followed by Avengers: Infinity War. He’s also starring in The Weinstein Co’s The Current War. SunnyMarch, and its part-owner, Studiocanal, recently acquired film rights to the upcoming novel by Matt Haig, How To Stop Time with Cumberbatch attached to star.
Gyllenhaal, a recent smash on Broadway in Sunday In The Park With George, is in Cannes competition title Okja from Bong Joon-ho. He’s also got Boston Marathon bombing drama Stronger releasing in September and is lined up for Jacques Audiard’s The Sister Brothers.
Knight has the 4th season of Peaky Blinders currently shooting and is prepping his next feature as director, Serenity, which begins in July with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Uma Thurman starring.
Cumberbatch is repped by UTA and Conway van Gelder Grant; Gyllenhaal and Guadagnino are repped by WME; and Knight is with CAA and United Agents.