Christoph Waltz will play Hollywood legend Billy Wilder in a new project from producer Jeremy Thomas.
“Billy Wilder & Me” will be adapted by Christopher Hampton from Jonathan Coe’s book, with Stephen Frears directing. Billed as part coming-of-age story and part true-life portrait of Wilder, the film looks to capture “a heroic icon of Hollywood’s golden era for all cinema lovers.”
Wilder’s directing credits include “Sunset Blvd.,” “The Apartment” and “The Seven Year Itch.”
Here’s an official synopsis for the pic: In the summer of 1977, an innocent young woman begins working for famed director Billy Wilder and his screenwriter Iz Diamond on a Greek island during the filming of “Fedora.” When she follows Wilder to Germany to continue the shoot, she finds herself joining him on a journey of memory into the heart of his family history.
Frears has again teamed with two-time Oscar winning screenwriter Hampton, marking their third collaboration after “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Cheri.” Thomas and Frears made cult road movie “The Hit” in 1984.
Co-producers are Reinhard Brundig and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, who previously partnered with Thomas on Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive.”
Production will begin in the spring of 2023 in Greece, Munich and Paris. Casting of further principal roles will be announced shortly.
Thomas’ last film, Jerzy Skolimowski’s “EO,” won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and has been picked up by Janus Films and Sideshow — the team that handled Oscar winner “Drive My Car” Stateside in 2020 — for U.S. distribution.
Frears said: “Europe and Hollywood. Hollywood and Europe. The most interesting dilemma in the cinema.”
Waltz added: “Billy Wilder said, ‘You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.’ A Stephen Frears movie from a Christopher Hampton script produced by Jeremy Thomas should do the trick for me.”
Hampton said: “From the time of our first meeting in Los Angeles in the early eighties, Billy Wilder was extremely kind and encouraging to me. Jonathan Coe’s wonderful novel has provided the perfect opportunity to express my gratitude and my admiration for one of the undisputed giants of cinema history.”