“Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke and Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) are set to headline “The Pod Generation,” a sci-fi romantic comedy that will be directed by Sophie Barthes. MK2 Films has boarded international sales, and CAA Media Finance is handling domestic rights.
Set in a near future where AI is all the rage and nature is becoming a distant memory, the story revolves around Rachel (Clarke) and Alvy (Ejiofor), a New York couple who are ready to take their relationship to the next level and start a family. Rachel’s work gives them a chance to use a new tool developed by a tech giant, Pegasus, which offers couples the opportunity to share pregnancy on a more equal footing via detachable artificial wombs, or pods. Alvy, a botanist and devoted purist, has doubts, but his love for Rachel prompts him to take a leap of faith. And so begins the wild ride to parenthood in this brave new world.
“The Pod Generation” starts shooting in March 2022. Mk2 films will share the script and sizzle reel at next week’s virtual American Film Market.
“Working with Emilia and Chiwetel as a couple on screen is a dream come true,” said Barthes. “Emilia’s versatility, her disarming sense of humor and capacity to navigate complex emotions are a perfect match to Chiwetel’s charisma and extraordinary screen presence.”
Barthes added that the “idea of the artificial womb as either doom or liberation for women is inherently comedic material.”
Fionnuala Jamison, managing director of MK2 Films, described “The Pod Generation” as a “captivating near-future story with a distinctly feminine twist that really haunts as much as it entertains.” At the same time, she said, it’s “raising ethical questions about where technology is taking us, like once the womb has been commodified, what’s next?”
The executive also pointed out that science fiction hasn’t yet been tackled by many female directors and represents fertile ground for creativity. “We were utterly captivated by Sophie Barthes’ thrilling script and unique vision for ‘The Pod Generation’ and can’t wait to launch sales at AFM,” said Jamison.
“The Pod Generation” will mark Barthes’ third feature following “Cold Souls” and “Madame Bovary,” which played at Sundance, Toronto, Deauville and Telluride.
“The Pod Generation” is being produced by Yann Zenou at Paris-based Quad (“The Death of Stalin,” “The Intouchables”) and Geneviève Lemal for Scope (“Annette,” “Blue is the Warmest Colour”). Clarke is executive producer on the project.
The film will be lensed by Andrij Parekh, cinematographer on HBO’s “Succession” and “Scenes from a Marriage,” as well as “Blue Valentine” and “Watchmen.” Other key crew members include Shane Valentino, the production designer on “Nocturnal Animals” and “Batman Begins”; and Evgueni and Sasha Galperine, the composers of “Happening,” “Loveless” and “The Past.”
Clarke is a four-time Emmy nominee for her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones.” She is also the recipient of the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year. Next up, she will co-star in Václav Marhoul’s Joseph McCarthy biopic alongside Michael Shannon and Dane DeHaan. She is repped by CAA, Range Media Partners, Emptage Hallett, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush and Kaller & Gellman.
Ejiofor, who won a best actor BAFTA for his performance in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” is a five-time Golden Globe nominee and has been twice nominated for an Emmy Award. He’s repped by CAA, Markham Froggatt & Irwin, and Hirsch Wallerstein.
Barthes is repped by CAA, Taylor-Wessing and Paul Nelson at Mosaic who is an executive producer on the project.