EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off their Oscar nominations for drama The lost girlOscar winner Olivia Colman (The favourite) and Chernobyl star Jessie Buckley is set to reunite on comedy Naughty little letterswhich will be all the rage on the Cannes market.
French powerhouse Studiocanal developed the project, is launching sales and producing with Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin of Three billboards outside Ebbing Missouri and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Colman’s Blueprint and South Of The River Pictures outfit.
Based on a true story, the film will see the much-requested British and Irish actors play very different neighbors who come together to solve a mystery.
Buckley will be the feisty Rose Gooding who has little in common with the pious Edith Swan (Colman) except that they were neighbors in the seaside town of Littlehampton in the 1920s. One day, Edith and others Townspeople begin to receive outrageous letters written in foul language as eccentric as they are obscene, and the finger of suspicion immediately falls on Rose. As Rose faces losing her freedom and custody of her daughter, and scandalous letters continue to ravage the town, police officer Gladys Moss begins to suspect something is wrong. With a group of resourceful women, Gladys sets out to solve the mystery, free Rose and catch the real culprit.
At the sound of it, there is a small dose of Three billboards outside Ebbing Missouri here, which isn’t a bad thing considering the movie Blueprint won multiple Oscars and $160 million at the box office.
Thea Sharrock (me before you) is directing from a screenplay by British actor and writer Jonny Sweet. Principal photography is due to starfall 2022, location shooting in the UK.
Colman will produce for South Of The River with Ed Sinclair. Anna Marsh, CEO of Studiocanal, Ron Halpern EVP Global Production and Joe Naftalin SVP Global Production are the French studio’s executive producers.
Director Thea Sharrock commented: “Naughty little letters is a divine comedy with a deeply moving core. Hilarious, witty, joyful and based on a true story as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. Watching this movie will be like hitting your funny bone; when tears of pain and laughter are impossible to separate. Olivia Colman is hilarious, brilliant and brave. In the role of Edith, she will continue to show her extraordinary dexterity as an actress with her unique ability to make us fall in love with her. In Jessie Buckley, we chose the actress that everyone wants to see; her ferociously strong energy will blow the character of Rose on our screens. Following The lost girl our film brings together two of the most exciting, accessible, fun and wild actresses in the world.
Producers Olivia Colman and Ed Sinclair added, “Here at South Of The River, we couldn’t be happier to sit alongside Studiocanal and Blueprint to bring this incredible true story to life. Naughty little letters is as hilarious as it is unexpected with beautifully and lovingly drawn characters on every level. Jonny Sweet’s script hooked us from the first page. He has a superb eye for the ridiculous and the pompous in his characters, and his background as a stand-up comedian gives his writing a real zing. We’re thrilled to have Thea Sharrock on board to direct, a filmmaker who will allow our script and characters to fly. In Naughty little letters there’s a compelling, modern sensibility bubbling beneath the recognizable and highly cinematic surface of post-WWI England, which ultimately packs a satisfying and relevant dramatic punch.
Producers Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin said, “We are thrilled to team up with Thea Sharrock again and to work with Studiocanal and South Of The River Pictures on this project. The comedy of Jonny Sweet’s screenplay appealed to us right away, but in the true story he weaved into this film, he also showed us three heroic women ahead of their time who bravely resisted the judgment of their community, and fought to be heard when the world didn’t want them to speak. Anchored by Olivia Colman as Edith, the film is packed with unique and unforgettable characters who capture all the petty rivalries, prejudices and divisions of small town life; and celebrates the risks taken by women who have dared to challenge the status quo.
EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and SVP Global Production Joe Naftalin oversee Studiocanal. Anne Cherel, EVP Global Sales & Distribution, and Chloe Marquet, Head of International Film Sales, manage Studiocanal’s worldwide sales.
Colman is represented by United Agents, ICM and Narrative. Jessie Buckley is represented by United Agents, CAA and Relevant