EXCLUSIVE: Will Ferrell is attached to star with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Downhill, Fox Searchlight’s remake of Ruben Ostlund’s acclaimed Swedish drama-comedy Force Majeure. Oscar winners Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) have come on board to direct.
The biting comedy will chart how a narrow avalanche escape during a ski vacation in the Alps throws a seemingly picture-perfect family into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate life, and how they truly feel about each other. Shoot is due to get underway in Austria in early 2019. Casting is underway on supporting roles.
The film is A Likely Story production with Seinfeld and Veep star Dreyfus producing with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Foxcatcher producer Anthony Bregman and Private Life and Enough Said producer Stefanie Azpiazu, from a script by Jesse Armstrong’s (Four Lions). Executive producers Ostlund and Erik Hemmendorff.
The acclaimed 2014 original won the Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, cleaned up at the Swedish version of the Oscars and was nominated for a Golden Globe. It kicked Swedish filmmaker Ostlund’s career into another gear; he then went on to make Palme d’Or-winner The Square. Both films took more than $1 million at the U.S. box office, no mean feat for Scandi-language dramas.
Downhill reunites Searchlight with actor-writer-directors Faxon and Rash with whom they worked on George Clooney’s comedy-drama The Descendants and 2013 pic The Way Way Back, the duo’s directorial debut. It also re-teams them with Louis-Dreyfus in her first film since 2013 comedy-drama Enough Said, which was produced by Azpiazu and Bregman. Anchorman and Daddy’s Home star Ferrell will next be seen in comedy Holmes & Watson alongside his Talladega Nights and Step Brothers co-star John C Reilly.
“Obviously, Searchlight is like family at this point. We’re honored to be working with them for a third time. But, to also have our paths cross with Julia, and a fellow Groundling alum in Will, makes this all the more special and exciting for us,” Faxon and Rash told Deadline.
“Downhill is a tale of bad judgment and moral weakness, so how fitting that Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell embody those values. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, of course, are more than qualified to capture the fallout,” added producer Bregman.
“We’re thrilled to once again be working with the inimitable duo of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. And it goes without saying that bringing Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell together for the first time on screen is a dream come true. The Austrian alps are in for a comedic avalanche,” commented David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight Pictures’ presidents of Production, Film and Television.