Olivia Wilde, "Shame" star Nicole Beharie and "True Grit" breakout Hailee Steinfeld will feature in "The Keeping Room." Penned by Julia Hart, the Civil War-era drama centers on two sisters and a slave (Wilde/Steinfeld and Beharie, we presume) who have to defend their home from some rogue defectors from the Union Army. Frankly, it sounds a bit like an 1800s "Straw Dogs," and that could go either really wrong or really right. Indeed, Barber's debut more or less split critics with its depiction of gritty urban life in the U.K., and this material will need a nuanced hand to work without feeling a bit sleazy.
The movie will be repped at AFM this week, and whether or not distributors bite will likely determine its fate, though Wind Dancer is on board to finance. So we'll see, but Barber isn't without options, getting attached to the "Strangers On A Train"-esque thriller "Substitution" last summer, though there hasn't been much movement on that. But certainly, some intriguing, attention-getting material with an interesting cast. But whether a female driven, period thriller will sell...?[THR]