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FIRST LOOK: Toronto Best Actress Candidate Jessica Chastain Stars in Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ (TRAILER)

FIRST LOOK: Toronto Best Actress Candidate Jessica Chastain Stars in Liv Ullmann's 'Miss Julie' (TRAILER)

Now that the dust is settling around the recent flurry of fall film festival announcements, one promising entry is a Toronto world premiere: Norwegian actress-writer-director Liv Ullmann’s adaptation of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” The film starring Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Colin Farrell (“Saving Mr. Banks”) and Samantha Morton (“A.I.”) seeks a North American distributor. Whether it would make it into this year’s Oscar race depends on how it plays in Toronto. French international sales agency Wild Bunch is handling sales. 

Chastain has been in-demand, earning back-to-back Oscar nominations for supporting actress for “The Help” in 2012 and Best Actress in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” in 2013. The Weinstein Company plans an awards push for the single-film version of “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” which debuted as two films in Toronto last year. Coming November 7 is Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.”  A24 will open J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year” on November 14. Still to come in 2015 are Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” and the role of Marilyn Monroe in andre Domicic’s “Blonde,” which is in pre-production. 

Ullmann wrote this English-language screenplay for her fourth feature as a director and shot the costume drama in Northern Ireland. Famous for her work with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in such films as “Persona” and “Scenes from a Marriage,” Ullmann earned two Oscar nominations in the ’70s for Best Actress for Jan Troell’s “The Emigrants” and Bergman’s “Face to Face.” She returned to the screen after four years in German director Georg Maas’ Oscar-nominated “Two Lives” (2012) and in Indian-UK director Dheeraj Akolkar’s Norwegian documentary “Liv & Ingmar” (2012), about her relationship with Bergman. 

Ullman’s third feature as a director, “Faithless,” was released in 2000. She has also directed a documentary and a TV movie. On stage she directed Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Australian stars Cate Blanchett and Joel Edgerton, in Sydney as well as New York. Actors should eat this up. 

Many directors have adapted Strindberg’s juicy battle of the sexes for the screen, from Sweden’s own Anna Hofman-Uddgren (1912), to UK’s Mike Figgis (1999) and American director Michael Margotta (2009).

“Miss Julie” will open in Norway two days after its Toronto debut on September 12 via Nordisk Film Distribusjon. The film is a Synnøve Hørsdal production for Norway’s Maipo Film, with UK’s The Apocalypse Films Company, France’s Senorita Films and Ireland’s Subotica Film.


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