Topliners will goose ‘Bruce’

Holedigger to produce Cairns-helmed pic

NEW YORK — Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick begin shooting today on “Marie and Bruce,” an adaptation of Wallace Shawn’s play about a marital breakdown.

Holedigger Films has come on board as producer of the Tom Cairns-helmed pic.

Holedigger partner George Van Buskirk will produce, with fellow partner David Newman exec producing, along with Kelly Miller, Jonathan Cavendish, Amy Robinson and Moore. Kimberly Reiss is associate producer.

Supporting cast includes Griffin Dunne, Campbell Scott, Steve Burns and Bob Balaban, who starred opposite Louise Lasser in the original 1980 Public Theater production in New York.

While not a partner in Holedigger, Scott is acknowledged by Van Buskirk as the company’s unofficial godfather. The actor-director became aware of the project through a conversation with Shawn at the “Far From Heaven” premiere last year. He then took the script to Holedigger in January, and Van Buskirk negotiated a deal with exec producer Cavendish soon after.

Long shelf life

The project originally was set up at Castle Rock in 1994 with Holly Hunter and John Malkovich attached to star and Malkovich set to make his directing debut. However, the deal fell apart when Hunter dropped out during pre-production.

The film more recently was taken by Cavendish to Hart Sharp Entertainment to be produced on a $1.5 million budget, but failed to come together.

“The dialogue is a little different from what we consider naturalistic dialogue,” Van Buskirk told Daily Variety. “But it’s how people think. The movie has a strange and dreamy quality to it. People may have been scared away from it for those reasons, but that’s what attracted me to it.”

A darkly comic glimpse at 24 hours in the deterioration of a marriage, the film was scripted by Shawn and Cairns, who previously directed a production at London’s Almeida Theater of the playwright’s “Aunt Dan and Lemon.” Cairns’ extensive television, legit and opera directing credits in England include BBC mini “Amongst Women.”

No distributor is yet on board. Holedigger is looking at bringing in an international sales company but will be representing the film at Cannes.

Moore previously worked with Shawn in Louis Malle’s 1994 feature “Vanya on 42nd Street.” After completing work on “Marie and Bruce,” the actress will star opposite Pierce Brosnan in Peter Howitt’s romantic comedy “Laws of Attraction” and in the Joe Ruben-directed thriller “The Forgotten.” Broderick recently completed work on “Providence,” with Alec Baldwin, Toni Collette and Calista Flockhart.

New York-based Holedigger Films’ productions include Alan Rudolph’s “The Secret Life of Dentists,” Dylan Kidd’s “Roger Dodger” and Scott’s “Off the Map,” which premiered at Sundance and will open the 42nd Intl. Critics Week at the Cannes fest this month.

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