‘English Patient’ Stars Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes Will Reunite in ‘The Return,’ a Gritty Take on ‘The Odyssey’

Ralph Fiennes Juliette Binoche

“The English Patient” co-stars Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes will reunite in Uberto Pasolini’s “The Return,” a gritty retelling of Odysseus’ return home from war.

The film is an original take on Homer’s “The Odyssey” with a script by John Collee (“Master & Commander”) and U.K. playwright Edward Bond, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up.”

“The Return” is produced by James Clayton and Pasolini for Red Wave Films, while Roberto Sessa’s Picomedia is providing funding. HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales, and will introduce the pic to buyers at next month’s Cannes Film Festival.

Binoche and Fiennes last starred together in Anthony Minghella’s masterful 1996 adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning novel “The English Patient.” The film won nine Oscars in 1997, include best film, and best supporting actress for Binoche. Fiennes was also nominated for best actor.

Here’s an official description of “The Return”: After 20 years away Odysseus (Fiennes) washes up on the shores of Ithaca, haggard and unrecognizable. The King has finally returned home but much has changed in his kingdom since he left to fight in the Trojan war. His beloved wife Penelope (Binoche) is now a prisoner in her own home, hounded by her many ambitious suitors to choose a new husband, a new king. Their son Telemachus, who has grown up fatherless, is facing death at the hands of the suitors who see him as an obstacle in their relentless pursuit of Penelope and the kingdom.

Odysseus has changed, too. Scarred by his experience of war, he is no longer the mighty warrior his people remember. But he is forced to face his past in order to rediscover the strength needed to save his family and win back the love he has lost.

Pasolini said of the project: “I feel enormously fortunate to be able to bring Homer’s world alive through the great talent of Juliette and Ralph, whose powerful screen presence is matched by the fearlessness they bring to their work.”

Clayton added: “This is ‘The Odyssey’ as we’ve never seen it before, no gods or monsters but instead an elemental thriller with a traumatized veteran forced to return to violence in order to save his loved ones; it’s an honor to help Uberto realise his vision of this journey of the soul with such extraordinary actors.”

HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart also added: “We feel privileged to be part of this powerful, timeless and relevant story working with such a talented team.”

Fiennes is represented by Dalzell and Beresford Ltd and CAA. Binoche is represented by CAA and Artmedia.