Studiocanal, Working Title team to produce thriller from 'Drive' scribe

MADRID Two of Europe’s primo production players, Studiocanal and Working Title, are teaming to produce thriller “Two Faces of January,” the directorial debut of “Drive” scribe Hossein Amini.

Kirsten Dunst has joined Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac (“Drive”) to complete key cast.

As on their 2011 effort, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Working Title will produce and Studiocanal finance, distributing in the U.K., Germany and France and selling the rest of the world, Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson said.

Tom Sternberg (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”) will produce with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Robyn Slovo (“Tinker Tailor”).

Sternberg orginally optioned the rights to “Two Faces,” set it up at Sidney Pollack and Anthony Minghella’s Mirage, and developed the project with Amini.

Written by Amini, who adapted a Patricia Highsmith novel of the same title, “Two Faces” rolls Oct. 1, shooting on location in Greece and Turkey, with some U.K. studio work, Bevan said.

Initially set in Athens, it centers on a con an (Mortensen) who kills a Greek policeman, quite possibly by accident. His wife (Dunst) and an American tutor (Isaac) help to extricate him from his bind. On the lam, the three flee Athens to the Greek islands and finally Istanbul.

“This is totally Patricia Highsmith’s world, turning on the two male leads’ complicated relationship, like ‘Strangers on a Train’ or ‘The Talented Mr Ripley,'” said Ron Halpern, Studiocanal, exex VP, international productions and acquisitions.

“Two Faces” is a “story about love dying: What it’s like to fall out of love with someone you still feel a certain loyalty to,” Amini told Variety.

Following on “Tinker Tailor,” helmed by Swede Tomas Alfredson and Dan Mazer’s “I Give It a Year,” now in post, “Two Faces” continues Studiocanal’s new film-by-film relationship with Working Title.

Coming in at around “Tinker Tailor’s” just-under $30 million budget, “Two Faces” won’t need to rely on the U.S. market for initial financing.

“This is a really good European-location movie with a quasi-American story,” Bevan said.

“With this sort of movie, and it’s not dissimilar to ‘Tinker,’ you can get a great cast, a great script, a good director, you can shoot in a sensible amount of time, and in a sensible way,” he added.

Amini drew Academy Award and WGA noms for Henry James adaptation “The Wings of the Dove.”

“Honestly, this isn’t about directing. This is about directing this film. I’ve wanted to do so for at least 15 years. It’s been my one obsession,” Amini said.

Mortensen is repped by Lynn Rawlins at the Rawlins Company, Dunst and Isaac by UTA’s Theresa Peters.

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