Focus International backs Firth, Blunt pic

Untitled dark comedy to be unveiled to buyers in Cannes

CANNES — Focus Features Intl. has boarded international sales for an untitled Colin Firth and Emily Blunt dark comedy helmed by Dante Ariola.

Pic, penned by Becky Johnston, will be unveiled to buyers for the first time in Cannes this week, adding to Focus’ already strong and eclectic slate, which includes “Cloud Atlas” and “Hyde Park on Hudson.”

Pic marks the directorial debut of Ariola and follows the story of a man who is deeply unhappy with his life and stages his own death in order to gain a new identity. However, under his new persona, he meets a fragile woman who is also trying to leave her past behind. The two seek comfort in each other and begin to break into empty homes and take on identities of absent owners.

Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver produces along with Johnston and Alisa Tager.

Pic is financed by Vertebra Films.

UTA, which reps Ariola and Johnston, and CAA, which represents Firth and Blunt, co-packaged the pic and will co-rep North American rights.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Vertebra and Cross Creek by Eric M. Greenfield at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman.

Production is skedded to begin in fall.