Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss and Avengers: Endgame’s Benedict Cumberbatch are in place to star in a film adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel The Power of the Dog from helmer Jane Campion. The project will be presented to buyers at Cannes via Cross City Films.
The story follows wealthy Montana brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George Burbank who are two sides of one coin. Phil is graceful, brilliant and cruel where George is stolid, fastidious and gentle. Together they are joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley. It is a place where men are still men, the rapidly modernizing 20th century is kept at bay and where the figure of Bronco Henry, the greatest cowboy Phil ever knew, is revered. When George secretly marries local widow Rose (Moss), a shocked and angry Phil wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her entirely using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn.
Roger Frappier of Max Films is producing the film with Tanya Seghatchian of Brightstar as well Emile Sherman and Iain Canning of See-Saw Films. The project has been developed with BBC Films, which is also backing production. BBC Films’ Rose Garnett, See-Saw’s Simon Gillis and Brightstar’s John Woodward will serve as executive producers.
Campion, who won a screenwriting Oscar for The Piano, co-wrote and directed the Emmy-nominated limited series, Top of the Lake, which starred Moss and earned her a Golden Globe. Campion’s other credits include An Angel At My Table, In the Cut starring Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, Holy Smoke with Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, and The Portrait of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich. She is repped by HLA Management in Australia.
Moss can currently be seen in Jordan Peele’s blockbuster hit Us, and starring in Her Smell, on which she also serves as producer. Up next, she plays opposite Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen. Moss’ reps are WME, Ribisi Entertainment Group, Viewpoint, Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman, and Independent Talent Group in the UK.
Cumberbatch, known internationally for roles like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Strange, starred as the title character in Showtime’s Patrick Melrose series and, earlier this year, appeared in the HBO/Channel 4 political drama Brexit: The Uncivil War. Repped by UTA and Conway van Gelder Grant in the UK, his upcoming slate includes cold War spy-drama Ironbark and the Amazon series Good Omens.