French multi-hyphenate Amanda Sthers (“Holy Lands”) has recruited the U.K.’s Kelly Reilly, Italy’s Pierfrancesco Favino and France’s Jean Reno for English-language romantic drama “Promises,” set in Italy and London, which started shooting in Rome on Monday.
Based on Sthers’ novel by the same title, “Promises” turns on an unfulfilled love affair between Alexander, played by Favino — who won best actor at Venice last year for his role in Italian drama “Padrenostro” — and Laura, played by Reilly (“True Detective,” “Britannia”).
Commenting on her casting choices, Sthers in a statement noted that she grew up watching movies from around the globe and therefore “allowed myself to choose talent over everything else, and wanted the global sentiment of the film reflected in casting.”
“Together, Favino and Reilly look like a quintessential cinematic couple bringing a sense of timelessness to our story,” Sthers added.
Rounding out the cast are Cara Theobold (“Downton Abbey”), Deepak Verma (“EastEnders”) and Kris Marshall (“Big Trouble in Seattle”).
The “Promises” tale spans several decades and is set in “romantic locations” on the Italian coast, Rome and London, according to promotional materials. It draws inspiration from Sydney Pollack’s “The Way We Were” and Ettore Scola’s “We All Loved Each Other So Much,” with a taste of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso.”
“It took me three years to write ‘Promises’ as a novel and five more to adapt it for the screen, probably because putting time in a bottle is not an easy job,” said Sthers, who is a best-selling author and playwright.
The director described the story as “the whole life of a man in a glimpse” and “this great unfulfilled love story that you could have experienced if only you’d turned left instead of right.”
Regarding the pic’s perspective and international scope, Sthers noted: “I am a woman telling a man’s story…I am a French person, living in Los Angeles, shooting in English between Rome and London.”
“Promises” is a French-Italian co-production between France’s Barbary Films and Italy’s Indiana Production, Vision Distribution and Iwaca, with the support of Italy’s national and regional tax rebates.
The film’s producers are Barbary chief Fabio Conversi, Indiana’s Marco Cohen, Benedetto Habib, Fabrizio Donvito, and Daniel Campos Pavoncelli. Amanda Sthers, Alvaro Valente and David Unger are co-producers.
Vision Distribution is handling worldwide distribution and sales.
Sthers’ past film work includes 2017 comedy drama “Holy Lands,” based on her novel published in the U.S. by Bloomsbury and starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, James Caan and Rosanna Arquette; and “Madame,” starring Toni Colette and Harvey Keitel.