EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off their Oscar nominations for drama The Lost Daughter, Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Chernobyl star Jessie Buckley are set to reunite on comedy Wicked Little Letters, which will be a hot project at the Cannes market.
French powerhouse Studiocanal developed the project, is launching sales, and is producing with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel outfit Blueprint and Colman’s South Of The River Pictures.
Based on a true story, the movie will see the in-demand Brit and Irish actors play very different neighbours who come together to solve a mystery.
Buckley will be fiery Rose Gooding who has little in common with the pious Edith Swan (Colman) aside from them being neighbours in the seaside town of Littlehampton in the 1920’s. One day, Edith and others in the town start receiving scandalous letters written with foul language as eccentric as it is obscene, and the finger of suspicion immediately falls on Rose. As Rose stands to lose her freedom and the custody of her daughter, and outrageous letters continue to blight the town, police officer Gladys Moss begins to suspect something is amiss. Together with a group of resourceful women, Gladys endeavours to solve the mystery, liberate Rose, and catch the real culprit.
By the sound of it, there is a small dose of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri here, which is no bad thing given the Blueprint film scored multiple Oscar wins and $160M at the box office.
Thea Sharrock (Me Before You) directs from a script by British actor and writer Jonny Sweet. Principal photography is due to star fall 2022, shooting on location in the UK.
Colman will produce for South Of The River with Ed Sinclair. Studiocanal CEO Anna Marsh, EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and SVP Global Production Joe Naftalin produce for the French studio.
Director Thea Sharrock commented: “Wicked Little Letters is a divine comedy with a profoundly moving core. Hilarious, witty, joyous and based on a true story as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. Watching this film will be like hitting your funny bone; when the tears of pain and laughter are impossible to separate. Olivia Colman is hilarious, brilliant and brave. In the part of Edith, she will continue to show her extraordinary dexterity as an actor with her unique ability to make us fall in love with her. In Jessie Buckley we have cast the actress everybody wants to see; her ferociously strong energy will explode the character of Rose onto our screens. Following The Lost Daughter our film reunites two of the world’s most exciting, accessible, fun and wild actresses.”
Producers Olivia Colman and Ed Sinclair expanded: “Here at South Of The River, we could not be happier to be sitting alongside Studiocanal and Blueprint in bringing this amazing true story to life. Wicked Little Letters is as hilarious as it is unexpected with beautifully and affectionately drawn characters across the board. Jonny Sweet’s script had us hooked from page one. He has a superb eye for ridiculousness and pomposity in his characters, and his background as a stand-up comic lends a real zing to his writing. We are thrilled to have Thea Sharrock on board to direct, a filmmaker who will allow our script and characters to fly. In Wicked Little Letters there’s a compelling and modern sensibility bubbling below the recognisable and highly cinematic surface of post-First World War England, which ultimately delivers a satisfying and relevant dramatic gut-punch.”
Producers Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin said: “We are delighted to be re-teaming with Thea Sharrock, and working with Studiocanal and South Of The River Pictures on this project. The comedy of Jonny Sweet’s script immediately drew us in, but in the true story he has woven into this film, he has also shown us three heroic women ahead of their time, who bravely withstood the judgement of their community, and fought to be heard when the world didn’t want them to speak. Anchored by Olivia Colman as Edith, the film is full of unique and unforgettable characters who capture all the petty rivalries, prejudices and divisions of life in a small town; and celebrates the risks taken by the women who dared to challenge the status quo.”
EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and SVP Global Production Joe Naftalin are overseeing for Studiocanal. EVP Global Sales & Distribution Anne Cherel and Head of International Film Sales Chloe Marquet are handling worldwide sales for Studiocanal.
Colman is represented by United Agents, ICM and Narrative. Jessie Buckley is represented by United Agents, CAA and Relevant