EXCLUSIVE: In some powerhouse two-hander casting, we can reveal that Oscar nominees Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces Of A Woman) have been set to lead survival thriller Suddenly, which quickly becomes one of the must-have packages at the Cannes virtual market. The movie will be the sophomore directorial outing for acclaimed screenwriter Thomas Bidegain, known for scripting films such as A Prophet, Rust And Bone and Dheepan, which won the Palme d’Or. Bidegain is also scripting the English-language project.
The feature is based on Isabelle Autissier’s French-language novel Soudain Seuls, which follows a couple who become stranded on an island in the South Atlantic and must fight for survival when their dream journey becomes a nightmare. The novel shines a light on the dynamics of their relationship and also holds a mirror up to modern society.
Studiocanal is launching world sales this week and is teaming up with Tresor Films and Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories on the blue chip prospect.
Producers are Alain Attal (Tell No One), and Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker for their Nine Stories (The Guilty) banner. Studiocanal is financing. Artemis Productions (Belgium) and True North Productions (Iceland) will co-produce.
Gyllenhaal and Bidegain previously worked together on The Sisters Brothers. The actor was last seen on the big screen in Spider-Man: Far From Home and upcoming has thrillers The Guilty, directed by Antoine Fuqua, and Ambulance, directed by Michael Bay.
The in-demand Kirby is in the middle of a hot streak that has included The Crown (for which she won a BAFTA), three Mission Impossible movies, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and well-received Venice Film Festival duo Pieces Of A Woman (for which she won the festival’s best actress prize) and The World To Come.
Writer-director Thomas Bidegain commented: “With Suddenly, I wanted to analyse the deep dynamics of a relationship stripped of all the artifices of the modern world, when facing life and death situations in a wondrous but hostile environment. Jake and Vanessa are a dream pairing who elevate the film to an entirely new dimension and are dream partners for making the film, along with our friends at Studiocanal.”
Studiocanal CEO Anna Marsh added: “We are thrilled to be working with such an incredible group of creative talent who have come together for Suddenly. Over the years, we have enjoyed great success together with Alain Attal, a producer of impeccable taste. The moment he came to us with this compelling story, we immediately believed in its major worldwide potential. The entire team at Studiocanal are such fans of Thomas’ work as a writer and filmmaker and can’t wait to see two of our favorite actors, Jake Gyllenhaal and Vanessa Kirby bring these profound, but complex characters to life together on screen.We have wanted to work with Nine Stories creatively for some time, I couldn’t be happier that Alain, Jake and Riva have partnered on this film.”
WME and attorney Carlos Goodman negotiated the deal on behalf of Gyllenhaal and Nine Stories. A shoot date has yet to be set.
Studiocanal’s Cannes virtual market slate also includes Cat Person with Nicholas Braun and Emilia Jones and Baghead with Freya Allan.
Kirby is represented by CAA, Hamilton Hodell, Linden Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham. Bidegain is represented by UTA and by Film Talents. Representing Tresor Films was Hubert Caillard of Intervista.