Colin Firth and Emily Blunt will star in an untitled dark comedy to be directed by Dante Ariola from an original script by Becky Johnston. It’s being sold at Cannes by Focus Features International, with UTA and CAA representing North American rights.
Here’s the plot, per Focus:
Wallace Avery (Firth) hates his job, his ex-wife and son hate him, and he blew his one shot at living his dream. Not wanting to face all this, he stages his own death and buys himself a new identity as Arthur Newman. However, Arthur’s road-trip towards a new life is interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful but fragile Mike (Blunt) who is also trying to leave her past behind. Drawn to one another, these two damaged souls truly begin to connect when they break into empty homes and take on the identities of the absent owners: elderly newlyweds, a high-roller and his Russian lady, amongst others. Through this process, Arthur and Mike discover that what they love most about each other are the identities they left at home, and that is when the real healing begins.
The film will be a Vertebra Films/ Cross Creek Pictures production produced by Brian Oliver (“Black Swan”) along with Johnston and Alisa Tager. Focus Features International is selling the film internationally for financier Vertebra Films, with sales to commence at the Cannes Film Festival. Production is scheduled to begin principal photography this fall.
Ariola has directed a lot of commercials, but I wonder if he’d be the first feature director to get his start making those festival-identification clips: He created the terrific “I Like To Watch” ad for the 1999 Seattle Film Festival.
Firth will next appear in Working Title’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy;” Blunt’s upcoming films include director Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Rian Johnson’s Looper, and Nicholas Stoller’s Five-Year Engagement.
Becky Johnston most recently wrote “1906,” about the San Francisco earthquake, for director Brad Bird. Her screenplays include “The Mayor of Castro Street” for Gus Van Sant and Oliver Stone, “Fernando Lopes” for Jean Jacques Annaud, “Wonder Woman” for George Miller, “From the Outside” for Martin Scorcese, “St. Agnes’ Stand” for Steven Spielberg and “Gucci” for Ridley Scott.