Though Lionsgate is undoubtedly scrambling to find a director for the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire before production begins this fall, star Jennifer Lawrence is currently busy shooting the thriller Serena. The first image from the film, featuring Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, has been released along with the announcement that production has commenced in Prague. The pic 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 to check out the image and full press release. Directed by Susanne Bier (In a Better World) the film also stars Toby Jones and Rhys Ifans.
Here’s the press release, with the film’s synopsis in bold:
LOS ANGELES – April 11, 2012 – Production has commenced in Prague on 2929 and Studiocanal Productions’ highly anticipated movie “Serena” directed by Oscar®-winner Susanne Bier (“In a Better World,” “Things We Lost in the Fire”) from a screenplay by Christopher Kyle (“Alexander”). The film stars Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone,” “The Hunger Games”), Bradley Cooper (“Limitless,” “The Hangover”), Toby Jones (“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “My Week with Marilyn”) and Rhys Ifans (“Skyfall,” “The Amazing Spider Man”). “Serena” is based on Ron Rash’s acclaimed novel of the same name, which was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
“Serena” is produced by Ben Cosgrove, 2929 co-owners Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, Chockstone Pictures’ Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz, and Nick Wechsler via his Nick Wechsler Productions banner. Studiocanal co-financed the project with 2929 and is handling all foreign sales.
The film follows newlyweds George (Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Lawrence) who travel from Boston to the mountains of North Carolina where they begin to build a timber empire in 1929. Serena soon shows herself to be the equal of any man: overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving a man’s life in the wilderness. Together, this king and queen rule their dominion, killing or vanquishing all who stand in the way of their ambitions. But when Serena learns that she can never bear a child, she sets out to murder the woman who bore George a son before his marriage. And when she starts to suspect that George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage begins to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
“2929 is thrilled to bring Ron Rash’s epic American novel to the big screen,” Cosgrove said. “Audiences are drawn to great stories with authentic characters – with this amazing cast and a director of Susanne’s caliber at the helm, we’re confident that moviegoers will find ‘Serena’ riveting.”
“Serena” also marks the second collaboration in the last year between 2929 and Studiocanal. The two also partnered on “Deadfall” starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde and Sissy Spacek; the film bows later this year.
“We are very happy to be partnering with 2929 again,” said Olivier Courson, Chairman and CEO of Studiocanal. “Susanne Bier is a director we all greatly admire at Studiocanal, so to be able to finance and distribute her next film is a great pleasure for us. And like any filmgoer, we are very excited to see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence together in this epic film.”