Holly Hunter has signed a deal to star in Still I Rise, a look at the public education crisis in America. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star as “two frustrated mothers who team up to transform an inner-city public school.” Isaac recently joined the cast as a “sexy, ukulele-playing teacher” who romances and inspires Gyllenhaal’s character. Hunter will play the head of the teacher’s union. Director Daniel Barnz (Beastly) is now polishing a rewrite of the original Brin Hill screenplay. Production on the Walden Media/Fox collaboration begins next week in Pittsburgh.
Likewise, Hunter is likewise in negotiations to join the cast of a new Romeo and Juliet movie. True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld is attached to play Juliet — at 14 years of age, Steinfeld hews closer to the 13-year-old girl Shakespeare described. Italian director Carlo Carlie (Flight of the Innocent) will direct from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes (The Tourist). The $15 million production is expected to begin filming soon in Italy. Deadline doesn’t specify, but my guess is Hunter is in talks to play either Lady Capulet (Juliet’s mother) or Lady Montague (Romeo’s mother).
Still I Rise will be Hunter’s first feature film since 2005, following a brief detour in to television with Saving Grace.