“Veep” creator Armando Iannucci has teamed with “Intouchables” and “Death of Stalin” producer Yann Zenou on a coming-of-age theatrical feature comedy set in the world of amateur sumo wrestling. Rocket Science is handling worldwide sales at the European Film Market.
Iannucci will act as executive producer. Other producers, alongside Zenou, on the project are Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto and Gianluca Chakra. The team has fully developed the project and will be producing it under their respective companies – YZE, Wild Swim, Record Player, NDF International and Front Row Filmed Entertainment.
“Sumo” follows the story of Jonah, a silver tongued and overweight kid with low self-esteem who meets Hana, a Japanese female janitor at his school – and an ex-sumo wrestler. Along with a pedantic and friendless building manager, this unlikely trio set about building a “dohjo” where they train for the U.S. Sumo Open.
American Japanese actor Suzy Nakamura from HBO’s “Avenue 5” and ABC’s “Dr. Ken” has committed for the role of Hana. The script was written by Richard Galazka. Natalie Bailey, who directed episodes of “Run” for HBO, will direct the film.
“As with other films I’ve been involved with in the past, ‘Sumo’ is the perfect feel-good movie with a heartfelt message at its core that audiences love all around the world,” Zenou said. “Richard’s script is literally ‘laugh out loud’ funny whilst delicately exploring themes around body issues, bullying and self-worth.”
The film is scheduled to start shooting in Cape Town, South Africa in late spring. Casting is underway with more announcements set to be made soon.