By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 2, 2011 at 3:11AM
'Animal Kingdom' Star James Frecheville & Xavier Samuel From 'Twilight: Eclipse' Also On Board
After a long career as an actress and director, French helmer Anne Fontaine had something of an international breakout with her last film, "Coco Before Chanel." The film, a biopic of the legendary fashion designer starring Audrey Tautou, proved to be critically acclaimed, garnering six Cesar nominations, four BAFTA nods and a place on the shortlist for Best Costume Design at the Oscars, and is one of the most successful French pictures of recent years, taking an impressive $43 million worldwide. As such, Fontaine is a hot property, and news has emerged that she's set to make her English-language debut with a pretty impressive cast.
Screen Daily report that Fontaine will helm "The Grandmothers," an adaptation of the 2003 novella by Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing, scripted by "Atonement" and "Dangerous Liaisons" scribe Christopher Hampton. The story involves two childhood friends and neighbors who each fall in love with the other's son, to the disgust of the boys' wives. Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are on board to play the [grand?]mothers, while young "Animal Kingdom" star James Frecheville and Australian actor Xavier Samuel, best known for playing villainous vamp Riley in "Twilight: Eclipse," will play the sons.
With three Australian actors among the cast, and a shoot planned in the country, it looks like the project's been transplanted Down Under, with producer Andrew Mason ("Tomorrow, When The War Began") teaming with French companies Gaumont and Mon Voisin to back the project. It's all a very impressive collection of talent, so this is certainly something to keep an eye on as 2012 develops. Shooting starts in February.
And yes, it does basically sound like a big-screen version of "Motherlover." We may have problems getting past that.