Two-time Berlinale prize winner Małgorzata Szumowska (“Body,” “Mug”) will write and direct “The Gambler Wife,” a revelatory portrait of novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s wife Anna Snitkina, to be produced by Russia’s Hype Film, Variety can reveal.
Adapted from Andrew D. Kaufman’s book “The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky,” the film tells the story of the courageous woman who saved the life of the Russian literary icon and, as the first Russian woman to found her own publishing house, became a pioneer in the country’s literary history.
Ilya Stewart of Hype Film (“Petrov’s Flu,” “Persian Lessons”) will produce in collaboration with Polish production company Nowhere. Nick Shumaker of Anonymous Content will executive produce along with Hype Film’s Elizaveta Chalenko.
“As a young, troublemaking Polish girl, I became obsessed with the world of Dostoyevsky, his books, and his imprint on society,” said Szumowska, who’s currently in post-production on “Infinite Storm,” starring Naomi Watts and Billy Howle, set for release this year by Bleecker Street.
“As a mature, rambunctious, fully formed human, it’s a true honor to explore his life through a female lens with Ilya Stewart and Hype Film, who in a few short years have emerged as intrepid, director-driven producers,” the filmmaker added.
“Małgorzata Szumowska is one of the world’s most exciting directors, and it is an honor and privilege to be collaborating with her on such a riveting story,” said Stewart. “Andrew Kaufman’s fascinating book naturally appeals to our company’s Russian background and desire to share stories from that part of the world, but also feels absolutely universal, timeless and relevant, especially in the hands of such a visionary filmmaker.”
Szumowska won the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for best director for “Body” in 2015 and the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for “Mug” in 2017. Her last film, “Never Gonna Snow Again,” premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 and was Poland’s submission for the Academy Awards.
Hype Film’s “Petrov’s Flu,” directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The company has been actively expanding its international operations in recent years, producing the upcoming “Sanctuary,” a co-production with David Lancaster’s Rumble Films, Mosaic Media and Charades, directed by Zachary Wigon and starring Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott; as well as Pietro Marcello’s “Scarlet,” starring Louis Garrel, with producer Charles Gillibert’s CG Cinema.
Szumowska is represented by Anonymous Content, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and UTA. Kaufman is represented by Rob McQuilkin from Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents and UTA. Stewart is represented by Granderson Des Rochers LLP.