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Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara will star in Pawel Pawlikowski’s next feature, which is tentatively titled “The Island.”

The film is loosely based on a true story and centers on an American couple who turn their backs on civilization to build a secluded paradise on a deserted island, where they decide to live off the land. But Eden proves difficult to pull off, particularly after a European countess finds out about their plans and arrives with her two lovers planning to take over the island and build a luxury hotel. According to the official description, that triggers some good old-fashioned psychological warfare, with “seduction and jealousy” turning into “sexual infidelity, betrayal and eventually murder.”

Pawlikowski is one of the most respected auteurs currently working, having earned an Oscar nomination for directing “Cold War” and winning an Academy Award for best foreign language feature for “Ida.” His other credits include “My Summer of Love” and “Last Resort.”

Phoenix and Mara are a couple and previously appeared together in “Mary Magdalene.” Phoenix also won an Oscar for “Joker” and is set to reprise that role in “Joker: Folie à Deux.” His other notable roles include “The Master” and “Gladiator,” as well as Ridley Scott’s upcoming film “Napoleon,” in which he will play the French military leader. Mara’s credits include her Oscar-nominated turns in “Carol” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” She is currently starring in “Women Talking,” which is earning critical raves.

“The Island” is only a working title. The film is produced by Tanya Seghatchian and John Woodward for Apocalypso Pictures and Brightstar. Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa are co-producing for Wildside, a Fremantle company, with Vision Distribution in collaboration with Sky. Ewa Puszczynska is co-producing for Extreme Emotions. Reno Antoniades is the executive producer.

“Pawel is the master of strong drama and he’s unmatched at creating attractive but emotionally complex characters whose reach often exceeds their grasp — especially in matters of the heart,” said Seghatchian. “In ‘The Island,’ power struggles and love and death are all amplified by Pawel’s cinematic style, which will integrate the savage beauty of nature on this deserted island into the story. With a brilliant cast this murder-mystery, set in an epic landscape, will feel timeless — but its themes are contemporary, universal and highly relatable.”

FilmNation Entertainment is launching international sales at the upcoming AFM with WME Independent representing US rights. The film is scheduled to shoot in 2023.

“Pawel Pawlikowski is one of the world’s greatest filmmakers working today. Pawel bringing this story of jealousy, betrayal and murder in a Garden of Eden is exactly what we all need to drive audiences back to the cinema,” said FilmNation’s CEO Glen Basner.

Phoenix is represented by WME; Mara is represented by WME and Entertainment 360