EXCLUSIVE: Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s production company Felix Culpa has set Australian filmmaker Simon Stone to adapt and direct Lydia Millet’s New York Times bestseller Sweet Lamb of Heaven: A Novel. Keough is also set to star as Anna in the film and will produce alongside Gammell and Scott Free.
The domestic thriller/psychological horror novel was one of three novels Felix Culpa acquired rights to when they announced their label with Deadline. Sweet Lamb of Heaven follows Anna, a young mother, who is escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, Ned, a businessman who’s just launched his first campaign for political office. Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, and the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. The longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists — and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife’s world in ways she never could have imagined. The novel, published by W.W. Norton & Company, received a number of accolades including the National Book Award for Fiction and Kirkus Best Book of 2016.
Stone, who has acted in TV series and features such as Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm and Michael Henry’s Blame, made his feature directorial debut with the 2015 drama The Daughter starring Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill and Paul Schneider. Stone is also known for his theater work across the UK, Europe and Australia. He recently made his stateside stage debut in Yerma, which he directed and adapted from the Federico Garcia Lorca play. Billie Piper stars. In addition to the Best Revival and Best Actress Olivier Award wins for the Young Vic production, the sold-out New York production was just nominated for two Drama League Awards including Outstanding Revival and four Drama Desk Awards, including Best Director.
Keough is currently shooting Wash Westmoreland’s The Earthquake Bird and has two films premiering at Cannes this year: Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built and David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake.
Keough is repped by WME, Thirty Three Management. Stone is repped by Creative Artists Agency, Stacey Testro International, and attorney David Fox.