Gael Garcia Bernal, Rosa Salazar, Michael Chernus, Anna Baryshnikov, Daisy Tahan, Samrat Chakrabarti and Ajay Naidu have joined the cast of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s drama “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Variety has learned exclusively.
Filming is starting on July 12 in New York. Maven Pictures and Pie Films are producing the film, based on Nadav Lapid’s Israeli film of the same name. Gyllenhaal is also producing along with Maven Pictures co-founders Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, and Pie Films’ Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Hadlesman-Keren.
Sara Colangelo is directing from her own adapted screenplay in which a kindergarten teacher who grows more and more numb each day she remains stuck in her mundane Staten Island life. When she discovers what may be a prodigious five-year old poet in her class, she becomes obsessed with the child and his talent– risking her career, family, and freedom.
Gyllenhaal came on board the project in late May. She received an Academy Award nomination for “Crazy Heart” and won a Golden Globe for her work in the BBC miniseries “The Honourable Woman.”
Bernal’s credits include “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” Salazar is the lead in the upcoming “Alita: Battle Angel.”
Chernus appears in “Orange is the New Black” and “Spiderman: Homecoming.” Baryshnikov’s credits include “Manchester by the Sea.” Tahan appeared in “The Nice Guys.” Chakrabarti’s credits include “In Treatment.”
Maven Pictures previously produced “The Kids Are All Right,” “Bernie,” and “Grace Is Gone.” The Israeli film “The Kindergarten Teacher” won the Grand Prize and $20,000 at the new talent competition at the 2015 Taipei Film Festival. It was Lapid’s second feature.
WME is selling the rights. Gyllenhaal and Colangelo are both repped by WME.