Gyllenhaal will play Dr. Edith Farnsworth and Fiennes will portray the Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe. Their efforts to build the first glass house in the 1940s led them into a passionate but tempestuous love affair.
“Farnsworth House” will be directed by Richard Press (“Bill Cunningham New York”) from his own screenplay. HanWay Films will oversee international sales and distribution and will commence sales at next month’s European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, with ICM Partners handling the U.S. sale.
Gyllenhaal is also producing “Farnsworth House” with Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Nebraska,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) through Bona Fide Production and Matt Flanders of In Your Face Entertainment. The film is currently in pre-production.
The Farnsworth House was designed and constructed by van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951 as a weekend retreat southwest of downtown Chicago. The retreat was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. The story will focus on the tension between Farnsworth’s practical needs being at war with the architect’s perfectionism.
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“I am always looking for projects about real women, with complicated, interesting minds,” Gyllenhaal said. “They are far and few between and ‘Farnsworth House’ is a rare find. In Edith Farnsworth is the opportunity to express a full and exciting spectrum of thoughts and feelings. But there is also the opportunity for the most exciting kind of artistic experience: a collaboration. ‘Farnsworth House’ is a love story between two iconoclasts, two equally interesting players.”
Gyllenhaal starred in and produced 2018’s “The Kindergarten Teacher.” Fiennes recently starred as Professor Moriarty in the comedy “Holmes & Watson” opposite Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart said: “Richard Press’ background in architecture, design and photography shines through when he describes making a film where passion and creativity collide. Maggie and Ralph will make extraordinary sparring partners, and we will be able to witness the building of one of the pillars of modern architecture.”