EXCLUSIVE: Guy Burnet (The Feed, Counterpart, Pitch Perfect 3) and Nora Arnezeder (Mozart in the Jungle, Zoo, Safe House) are set to star in the psychological thriller Glorious Empire written and directed by Matt Szymanowski. Andre Gaines will produce and Valerie Edwards will Executive Produce for Cinemation Studios. Produce will commence at end of summer.
Glorious Empire is a love story that turns into a living nightmare as Jeremy (Burnet) suspects his girlfriend Dagmara (Arnezeder), is gaslighting Jeremy and his family in order to cover up an affair with Jeremy’s brother. Even Jeremy’s concerned parents question his mental state, until it is revealed that Dagmara may have gotten away with the ultimate deception. The pic is described as a modern day homage to thrillers such as Play Misty for Me, Fatal Attraction and Single White Female.
Szymanowski is a Polish Film School-trained writer/director and Glorious Empire reps his second feature after 2015’s The Purple Onion.
“I want the audience to question who in this couple is more suspect. Midway through the story, the focus widens to include a family dynamic and suggests that those closest to us might be the most susceptible to (and capable of) extreme manipulation at our expense,” Szymanowski says about his motivation for the story.
Burnet and Arnezeder – who are a real-life couple – had been looking for a project to work on together, and gravitated toward material where they could play opposite each other. After Gaines shared the script with the couple, Szymanowski referenced the French thriller L’Enfer by Claude Chabrol as his inspiration for the relationship dynamic in ‘Glorious,’ and landed the two stars for the leads.
“Referencing L’Enfer was a huge drawing point for us,” Guy and Nora said in a joint statement. “We’ve spent some time searching for the right project for us, and after watching ‘Purple Onion’ and having a great conversation with Matt, we felt that the perfect ingredients were in place to do something really electrifying.”
Gaines previously produced Szymanowski feature film debut The Purple Onion, and worked with the filmmaker to develop ‘Glorious.
“When Matt pitched me the concept for Glorious Empire, right away it felt fresh and exciting, and I knew we had to make this movie,” Gaines said. “He’s a brilliant new voice.”
Gaines is also producing other titles in the thriller space, including the action thriller remake Fear is the Key with Cassian Elwes and StudioCanal, and the sci-fi thriller Timecrimes written by Steve Zaillian.
Burnet is repped by ICM Partners, Untitled Entertainment, Troika, and Paul Hastings. Arnezeder is represented by ICM Partners, Lasher Group, Agence Arc en Ciel, Curtis Brown Group, and Paul Hastings. Gaines is represented by ICM Partners, Curated By Media and Morris Yorn.G