European producer Studiocanal is teaming with Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment to co-finance “Serena,” a love story starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, with Susanne Bier (“In a Better World”) attached to direct.
“Serena” is set up at 2929. Nick Wechsler, who brought the project to 2929, will produce with Wagner and 2929’s Ben Cosgrove. Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz also take producer credits.
Studiocanal has bought international rights outside the U.S. and will likely release “Serena” via its distribution companies in the U.K., Germany and France.
It will sell rights to remaining territories at next week’s European Film Market at the Berlinale where “Serena’s” talent punch looks set to make it one of the hot tickets. Script is by New York-based Christopher Kyle (“Alexander,” “The Weight of Water”) based on Ron Rash’s novel.
Set in the mountains of 1920s North Carolina, “Serena” turns on newlyweds, timber merchant George Pemberton and his young wife Serena, who battle the state government to stop it requisitioning their land as part of a national park. Barren after a miscarriage, Serena also conceives a deadly hatred for her husband’s illegitimate son.
Cosgrove said: “It’s extraordinarily powerful material, sweeping in scope, and the heartbreaking love story is woven seamlessly into a first-rate thriller. ”
Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson said, “After ‘Tinker Tailor,’ ‘Serena’ perfectly illustrates Studiocanal’s priority in terms of production: a high-quality film with a great director, a very appealing cast and strong potential worldwide.”
“Serena” goes into production next month.
Cooper and Lawrence co-starred in David O. Russell’s still-to-be-released “The Silver Linings Playbook.” Lawrence will next be seen in “Hunger Games,” which bows March 23 in the U.S.
It’s 2929’s second teaming with Studiocanal within a year.
Last February, Studiocanal acquired worldwide rights to Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky’s “Blackbird,” an action dramedy produced by 2929 and Mutual Film Co. — another example of a European director taking on a U.S. film.
(Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.)