Fans of “The English Patient” will soon get their wish to see Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche reunite on screen for the first time in 25 years. The pair will star in a new take on Homer’s ancient classic “The Odyssey” called “The Return” as directed by Uberto Pasolini. Bleecker Street has acquired the rights to the film for a planned release in 2024.
“The Return” was first announced in April with both Fiennes and Binoche attached, but the details haven’t firmed up until now. Bleecker Street picked up the North American theatrical rights to the movie out of the European Film Market (EFM) going on now in Berlin. HanWay Films will maintain international rights, and has already locked deals in several territories.
Production on “The Return” will kick off in Greece this spring, filming in Corfu and the Peloponnese, before continuing in Italy.
The film tracks the events at the end of “The Odyssey” and stars Fiennes as Odysseus having finally returned home to Ithaca after 20 years away. Haggard, unrecognizable, and scarred by the experience of the Trojan War, he reels from his journey home. Binoche plays his wife Penelope, who has become a prisoner in her own home after being hounded by countless suitors eager to be king. Charlie Plummer will also star in “The Return” as Odysseus and Penelope’s son Telemachus, facing death at the hands of the suitors who see him as an obstacle. Odysseus is forced to face his past in order to rediscover the strength needed to save his family and win back the love he has lost.
Pasolini (“Nowhere Special”) co-wrote the film with Edward Bond (“Blow-Up,” “Walkabout”), and John Collee (“Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Hotel Mumbai”).
The deal is one of the first major North American deals to come out of EFM. Lionsgate has picked up the rights to a new Guy Ritchie movie: “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” starring Henry Cavill. And Well Go USA has acquired a new action movie starring Jackie Chan, titled “Ride On.”
Binoche won an Oscar in 1997 for her work in “The English Patient.” Fiennes was nominated for Best Actor as well. Binoche’s victory was one of nine Oscars for the Best Picture-winning film.
“The Return” is an Italy-Greece-UK-France co-production, produced by Pasolini and James Clayton for Red Wave Films, Roberto Sessa for Picomedia (Asacha Media Group) with Rai Cinema, Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovravkis for Heretic and Stéphane Moatti, Romain Le Grand, Vivien Aslanian and Marco Pacchioni for Kabo Films (Asacha Media Group) and Marvelous Production. Andrew Karpen and Kent Sanderson will executive produce for Bleecker Street. The deal was negotiated by Sanderson and Avy Eschenasy of Bleecker Street with HanWay Films.
Bleecker Street also recently picked up “The Starling Girl” out of Sundance, which played in the U.S. Dramatic competition. And next up in 2023 the indie distributor has the biopic “Golda” with Helen Mirren, another biopic “Emily” with Emma Mackey, Catherine Hardicke’s action comedy “Mafia Mamma,” “What Happens Later” as directed by and starring Meg Ryan, and “The Tutor” with Richard E. Grant and Julie Delpy.