U.K.-based Intandem Films is handling international sales and has already closed a dozen deals on Julie Delpy’s sophomore pic, the period thriller “The Countess,” slated to shoot in Eastern Europe later this year.
Produced by genre specialist Bloodworks, the shingle behind Lionsgate’s recent “2001 Maniacs,” and Social Capital, the project has advanced apace since Delpy’s helming debut, “Two Days in Paris” emerged as one of the buzz pics at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Netflix’s Red Envelope picked up “Two Days” for the U.S.
Delpy was also co-nominee for an Academy Award in the adapted screenplay category for “Before Sunset.”
The e5 million “Countess” stars Delpy as the bloodthirsty Hungarian Countess Bathory, a real-life aristocrat whose murderous ways inspired Gothic horror stories, centuries after her death around 1614. According to legend, she bathed in the blood of virgins, believing it would preserve her beauty.
Attached to co-star are Radha Michell as the countess’s friend and accomplice; Ethan Hawke, who will play her husband; and Daniel Bruhl, as the younger man she fell for. Vincent Gallo has also recently become attached.
Pic is slated to shoot in Hungary and Slovakia for eight weeks beginning at the end of October.
Martin Shore, Christopher Tuffin and Matthew Chausse of Social Capital Films/BloodWorks are serving as producers, alongside Delpy.
Distributors already on board include Dutch FilmWorks for the Benelux countries, Soyez for CIS/ Russia, Scandinavia’s CCV and Portugal’s Lusomundo. Not surprisingly, the project has been a hot ticket in Eastern Europe, where it has been snapped up by PA-Dora for Hungary, Ex-Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic, while New Films will release in Bulgaria and Romania.
Delpy penned a first script of “The Countess” five years ago, but decided to tackle a smaller pic for her helming debut and scripted, directed and starred in the culture-clash romantic comedy “Two Days in Paris” with Adam Goldberg. Pic screened to enthusiasm from crix and public in the Berlin film Fest’s Panorama section, and in a matter of days, international sales agent Rezo Films, also the French distrib, had sold it all over the world. It begins its theatrical rollout in France and some other territories next month.Despite its gory-sounding subject matter, “The Countess” won’t be a horror film, Delpy said. “The film is about her obsession with youth and power,” Delpy told Daily Variety. “She doesn’t accept growing old. It’s very Shakespearean.”
“I want it to be a film that people enjoy seeing,” Delpy said. “It’s not going to be an auteur film, I want to tell a story, not to make an intellectual film.”