Director Susanne Bier (In a Better World) has just landed two more quality actors for her timber-empire thriller, Serena. Rhys Ifans (Anonymous) is currently in negotiations and Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger) is set to join a cast that already features Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) and Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class). Serena is an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling Ron Rash novel about George (Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Lawrence), a 1930s newlywed couple who travel to North Carolina to seize control of the timber industry. Infidelity and infertility leads Serena to plot the murder of George’s illegitimate son while attempting to keep their timber land from being taken by the government. Hit the jump for more on Ifans and Jones’ characters.
Per Variety, Ifans is in talks to play Galloway, a cutthroat guide in the Appalachian wilds who becomes Serena’s right-hand man after she saves his life. Ifans can next be seen as Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard in this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Jones will play a character on the other side of the law in the form of Sheriff McDowell, who pursues Cooper’s character throughout the film. Serena will mark a reunion of sorts for Jones and Lawrence who can be seen in The Hunger Games, opening March 23rd. Check out a synopsis from the novel Serena below (via Amazon):
The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains–but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband’s life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.