UPDATED: Amazon Studios has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to “Annette,” a music-filled drama to be directed by cult French helmer Leos Carax (“Holy Motors”), Variety has learned. Adam Driver will star in the movie. A pitch to American distributors included Rihanna in the cast and the film’s producers told buyers at the Berlin Film Festival that the singer was attached. A spokeswoman for the singer says that she is not part of the project.
Rooney Mara was previously attached, but had to leave the project due to other commitments. The producers are now looking for another female lead.
The film marks Carax’s English-language debut. The script was written by and features original songs by Sparks, the art-rock band founded in 1971 by Ron and Russell Mael. The sale comes at a busy time for Amazon. The streaming service won three Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.” Its upcoming slate includes “The Big Sick,” a comedy with Kumail Nanjiani; Marc Webb’s “The Only Living Boy in New York”; the Grateful Dead documentary “Long Strange Trip”; and “Wonderstruck,” a Todd Haynes film with Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.
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Shooting on “Annette” will begin this spring across several international locations, including Los Angeles. Bruno Pesery is lead-producing “Annette” via his Paris-based outfit Arena Films (“21 Nights With Pattie”) and has gotten Swiss company Vega, Japan’s Eurospace, and Belgium’s Wrong Men to co-produce.
Carax’s credits include “Boy Meet Girl,” “Mauvais Sang,” “Les Amants du Pont Neuf,” and “Holy Motors.”
Driver has had a full dance card. He’s ending his run on HBO’s “Girls” and will appear in next December’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” He previously starred in “Paterson,” an acclaimed Jim Jarmusch drama that Amazon also released.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Rooney Mara was still part of the cast. She has left the project due to other commitments.
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