Academy Award nominees Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville are set to headline romantic drama “Normal People.” Bankside Films, which is handling international sales and will be pitching the project to buyers at Cannes next month, describes the Ireland-set film as “a story of love, survival and the epic questions life throws at each and every one of us.”
Neeson and Manville star as Tom and Joan, a married couple with an easy relationship and a depth of love which expresses itself through tenderness and humor. When Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as the pair face the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen in the future. The film is scheduled to begin shooting in early July on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Manville joins the production hot off her Oscar and BAFTA nominations for best supporting actress in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread.” Neeson, who was nominated for the best actor Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning 1993 film “Schindler’s List,” was most recently seen in Jaume Collet-Serra’s thriller “The Commuter.”
“Normal People” marks the third film from directing duo Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn following their 2009 debut thriller “Cherrybomb,” starring Rupert Grint, and 2012’s music biopic “Good Vibrations,” which was nominated for a BAFTA. It is written by award-winning Northern Irish playwright Owen McCafferty, making his feature-writing debut. McCafferty’s 1998 play “Mojo Mickybo” was adapted into a 2004 film, retitled “Mickybo and Me,” by writer-director Terry Sloane.
The producers are Brian J. Falconer for Out of Orbit, David Holmes for Canderblinks Film and Music and Piers Tempest for Tempo Productions. Bankside serves as executive producer. CAA is handling domestic rights.
Both actors are repped by Artist Rights Group in the U.K. Neeson is repped by CAA in the U.S.