The movie will chart the much-speculated-about relationship between Kennedy and British diplomat Lord David Harlech, who will be played by Mare Of Easttown and The Hurt Locker star Guy Pearce.
Metro International is launching international sales on the hot package ahead of the Cannes virtual market with CAA Media Finance repping North America.
The Third Day and The Secret Garden director Marc Munden will direct from a script by Steve Austin. Production is scheduled for early 2022.
The film will chart the highly-publicized 1967 visit Kennedy made to Cambodia with Harlech, the war veteran and former British Ambassador to the Kennedy White House. Arriving in Cambodia as the personal guest of Prince Sihanouk, who is desperate to restore diplomatic ties with the United States, the former First Lady is accompanied by her old friend, the recently widowed Harlech. He is on a secret mission for Robert Kennedy to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War – and to spend a week alone with the woman he loves.
Under the spell of the mysterious ancient ruins of Angkor Wat and far from the hysteria of “Jackie-mania”, Kennedy opens up to David and their connection, forged in part through shared grief, catches her unaware.
Private letters between the two have been uncovered in recent years, including a proposed “secret marriage” from Harlech which was rejected by Kennedy who went on to marry Aristotle Onassis soon after the Cambodia trip.
Jamie Bialkower is producing for Jump Street Films (Summer Coda). Additional producers are Graham Leader (In The Bedroom) and Steve Austin. Executive producers are Nicholas Simon of Indochina Productions (Da 5 Bloods), Bill Roy and Nicole LaFountaine.
Producer Jamie Bialkower said: “Upon reading Steve Austin’s vivid and intimate script, we were instantly transported to another time and place. The film promises to be a deeply felt romance set against the tides of history. Gemma Arterton and Guy Pearce will bring these fascinating and very human figures to life in all of their complexity, under Marc Munden’s striking directorial vision.”
Will Machin, CEO of Metro International, said: “This is an extraordinary, largely unknown chapter of the Jackie Kennedy story. Her legacy lives on, and we can’t wait to share this project with our distribution partners, knowing that they will respond to this cinematic sweeping love story with as much enthusiasm as we have.”
Jackie Kennedy was most recently portrayed on the big screen by Natalie Portman in Oscar-nominated 2016 biopic Jackie by Pablo Larrain.
Arterton and Pearce are represented by CAA and Independent Talent Group.