Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) will star with Bridgerton actor Jonathan Bailey in comedy Maria, we can reveal.
Independent Entertainment will launch sales in Cannes on the project, which hails from Benediction and Small Axe producer EMU Films. Simon Amstell is writing and directing.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and On The Basis Of Sex actress Jones will star in the title role as a young woman with a history of running from reality. Struggling to accept her age, her boyfriend’s love and her father’s indifference, Maria spots an opportunity to feel young, free and desirable at her father’s wedding, where she meets Raffy, her new stepbrother. Their obvious, if inconvenient, sexual chemistry is made worse by the news that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter) will play Maria’s father. Bailey will play Maria’s boyfriend Eddy. Amstell’s follow-up to his sophomore feature Benjamin is due to shoot in the UK and US in fall 2022.
Louise Palmkvist Hansen will produce for EMU Films. Amstell will also serve as executive producer, alongside EMU Films’ Michael Elliott, Jim Mooney and Walli Ullah, and Cora Palfrey and Sarah Lebutsch from Independent Entertainment.
Joining the creative team are director of photography Adam Gillham (I May Destroy You), editor Rebecca Lloyd (American Honey), Emmy-winning casting director Theo Park (Ted Lasso) and Mercury Music Prize-winning composer James Righton who reunites with Amstell having scored Benjamin as well as Amstell’s Netflix stand-up special Set Free.
Amstell’s career in comedy, on stage and TV includes the BBC series Grandma’s House which he also starred in. He made his debut feature Carnage in 2017, with Benjamin following in 2018.
Amstell said: “I’m incredibly excited to begin shooting Maria this year with Felicity Jones. Our hope is that making a film about our culture’s fear of aging and death will be an absolute sensation.”