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Film News Roundup: Natalie Portman in Talks to Join Bull Rider Drama ‘Bronco Belle’

In today’s roundup, Natalie Portman is in talks to join “Bronco Belle,” Sam Huntington’s “Second Nature” gets a wide release, and more…


Natalie Portman is in early negotiations with Sony-based TriStar to star as an aspiring bull rider in “Bronco Belle,” with Anna Rose Holmer in discussions to direct from Khurram Longi’s script.

Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar is producing the story about a waitress with dreams of riding on the rodeo circuit. CAA has been shopping the package for several months.

Portman was last seen in “Jackie,” for which she received her third Academy Award nomination after “Closer” and “Black Swan,” which won her a best actress trophy. She has wrapped on Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation,” which Paramount has set for a Feb. 23 release. Holmer directed “The Fits.”

Portman is repped by CAA. Holmer is repped by CAA and Management 360. Longi is with CAA and Independent Talent. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Sam Huntington comedy “Second Nature,” directed and co-written by Michael Cross, will get a wide release in September through Nicholas Gyeney’s Mirror Images, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film is also produced by Gyeney (“Beta Test”). Collette Wolfe also stars and her character uses a magic mirror to reverse the gender roles in her small town, gaining the upper hand on her womanizing opponent, portrayed by Huntington. As each experiences life in the other’s shoes, they must decide which reality they prefer before they’re stuck in the flipped world forever.

“Second Nature,” which premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival, marks the feature debut of Cross. The film is scheduled to open in theaters in September, with a VOD release to follow soon after. It will also play at the Catalina Film Festival and Ellensburg Film Festival.


Swen Group and Conglomerate have acquired movie rights to the Dutch-language biography “Bep Voskuijl, Silence No More,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The book is co-authored by Voskuijl’s son, Joop van Wijk, and Flemish journalist Jeroen De Bruyn. Voskuijl was a typist who worked for Anne Frank’s father, Otto, before the war and later tried to save her former employer’s family from the Holocaust. More than 70 years after the Amsterdam house where the Frank family was hiding was stormed by the Nazis, the book claims to shed light on the identity of the informer who gave up the Frank family.

The book cites testimonies to suggest it was Bep Voskuijl’s 21-year-old sister, Nelly, who was angry at her sister and father for being sympathetic toward the Jews, and phoned the SS on Aug. 4, 1944, to reveal the whereabouts of the Frank family’s hideout.

Armando Gutiérrez of Conglomerate and Eli and Murray Lipnik of Swen will oversee the film. Gutiérrez’s credits include the 2015 feature “Walt Before Mickey” and upcoming films “The Little Mermaid” and the live-action “Anastasia.” Eli and Murray Lipnik are executive producers of “Anastasia.”


Sony Pictures Classics has released a trailer for “Novitiate,” starring Margaret Qualley as a young woman who starts to question her faith as she progresses from the postulant to the novitiate stage of training to become a nun.

The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is set at the dawn of the Vatican II era in the middle 1960s with radical changes in the Catholic Church threatening the course of nuns’ lives. Sony Classics has set an  Oct. 27 release date.

“Novitiate” is written and directed by Margaret Betts. Melissa Leo, Morgan Saylor, Dianna Agron, Julianne Nicholson, Liana Liberato, Denis O’Hare, and Maddie Hasson also star.


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