Emily Watson, Richard E. Grant to Lead Romantic Comedy ‘Fado!,’ Protagonist to Sell at Cannes

CJ Contino/Maarten de Boer

Oscar nominees Emily Watson (“Breaking the Waves,” “Chernobyl”) and Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “Loki”) will star in director Jason Wingard’s romantic comedy “Fado!”

Global sales agent Protagonist Pictures will introduce the project to buyers at the upcoming Marche du Film (June 21-25) at Cannes.

Based on a script by Andrea Mann, “Fado!” follows Linda (Watson), a crossword enthusiast, choral society member, wife and mother of two, and her music lecturer husband Jim (Grant), who are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary with a romantic trip to Lisbon. But the night before they travel, Linda discovers a monumental secret that will shake the very foundations of their marriage.

“Fado!” will be the first time Watson and Grant have shared the screen since they both starred in Robert Altman’s Oscar winning “Gosford Park” (2001).

The film will be shot on location in Lisbon, Portugal and Wolverhampton, U.K.

Wingard’s debut feature, “In Another Life,” won best feature at Raindance and the Discovery Award at the British Independent Film Awards in 2017. His second feature, the comedy “Eaten by Lions,” premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2018 to much acclaim.

Gareth Wiley (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Match Point”) will produce, with Giulia Salvadori (“The Trip to Italy) as co-producer. Portuguese production services will be provided by executive producer team, Nuno Martins and Gerardo Fernandes through Disfarce Lda.

Protagonist is arranging financing for the film, with CEO Dave Bishop, head of acquisitions Luane Gauer and head of sales George Hamilton serving as executive producers.

“We love this script because with humor, warmth and wit, we meet a fabulous woman who, from the moment of discovering an unpalatable truth, goes in search of answers,” Wiley said. “And in doing so she discovers that even after 30 years of marriage and of putting others first, she is still as vital and sensual as ever and that her passion for new discoveries is undimmed. This really is a story for our times.”

“’Fado!’ is exactly the kind of joyful and hope-filled catharsis that will no doubt resonate with audiences at this unique moment in history,” said Gauer. “To be faced with a devastating crisis only to emerge with an even stronger sense of oneself and one’s purpose is truly uplifting, and we can’t think of anyone better to take us on this journey than Emily. The magnetic Richard is also perfectly cast as her ever-charming foil.”