LONDON — Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett, Rupert Everett, Gabriel Byrne and Julianne Moore are in advanced talks to star in the feature version of Oscar Wilde’s play “An Ideal Husband,” directed by Oliver Parker.
The film, produced by London-based Fragile Films, is being financed by Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Icon Entertainment, with U.S. and U.K. distribution deals currently under negotiation. Icon Entertainment Intl. will handle overseas sales.
Wilde’s 1895 ensemble comedy is the story of a successful politician with an outwardly perfect marriage whose youthful indiscretions come back to haunt him when he finds himself the target of blackmail by an adventuress who is an old school friend of his wife.
Byrne is being lined up to play the politician, Sir Robert Chiltern, with Blanchett as his wife and Driver as her sister. Everett plays his commitment-shy best friend, and Moore will take the role of the mysterious femme fatale Mrs. Cheveley.
The pic, which Parker has adapted, is set to shoot in June. Barnaby Thompson and Uri Fruchtmann of Fragile Films, most recently responsible for the very different “Spice World,” will produce, alongside Icon’s Davey. Exec producers are Susan Landau and Ralph Kamp.
“It’s a very contemporary story,” Thompson tells Daily Variety. “It’s set in the dying embers of the 19th century, and here we are in the dying embers of the 20th century, and things are the same, with corrupt politicians and men who can’t commit.”
Peter Hall’s stage production of Wilde’s play has been running for five years in London, and recently had a Broadway run. The play was previously filmed by Alexander Korda in 1947, starring Paulette Goddard.