Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn are two terrific actors, and they’re coming together to star in Benedict Andrews’ Blackbird. The upcoming drama from playwright David Harrow stars Mendelsohn as Ray, who “is confronted with his past when the young and beautiful Una (Mara) arrives unannounced at his office. Fifteen years earlier, the two had an illicit affair, for which Ray was arrested and imprisoned. He has since built a new life for himself; she is looking for answers.”
From the sound of the plot and caliber of the lead actors, I would expect for this to show up on the festival circuit sometime next year. In the meantime, Mara is coming off a Best Actress award at Cannes for her performance in Carol, and she’ll be seen later this year in Joe Wright’s Peter Pan prequel, Pan. As for Mendelsohn, he’s signed on to play the villain in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.
Here’s the full press release:
BLACKBIRD TAKES FLIGHT
Principal photography has now commenced on Benedict Andrews’ BLACKBIRD
From a screenplay by playwright David Harrower, BLACKBIRD will shoot for five weeks across the south of England.
Rooney Mara, (who most recently won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in CAROL), will star opposite Ben Mendelsohn (ANIMAL KINGDOM, STARRED UP) in an intense, unflinching examination of damaged love.
In BLACKBIRD, based on Harrower’s celebrated Olivier Award-winning play of the same name, Ray (Mendelsohn) is confronted with his past when the young and beautiful Una (Mara) arrives unannounced at his office. Fifteen years earlier, the two had an illicit affair, for which Ray was arrested and imprisoned. He has since built a new life for himself; she is looking for answers.
Said director Benedict Andrews: “I am relishing the opportunity to bring this vital, highly-charged story to the screen. David has written a beautiful, brutal script and I have two outstanding actors in the roles of Ray and Una. The fragility and extremities of human experience are central to my work- and BLACKBIRD is no exception”.
BLACKBIRD marks the feature film directorial debut of this critically acclaimed Australian stage director. His most recent theatrical productions have included the sell-out London production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster and Sydney Theatre Company’s touring production of The Maids at the Lincoln Center Festival, New York- which starred Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert.
BLACKBIRD also boasts a strong line-up of talent behind the camera: director of photography Thimios Bakatakis (THE LOBSTER, DOGTOOTH) production designer Fiona Crombie (SNOWTOWN, MACBETH), hair and make-up designer Jan Sewell (EVEREST, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), costume designer Steven Noble (BAFTA-nominated for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) and award- winning editor Nick Fenton (LIFE, SUBMARINE).
From film and theatre impresario Jean Doumanian and Patrick Daly for Jean Doumanian Productions (AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, The Book of Mormon) BLACKBIRD is also produced by Maya Amsellem for WestEnd Films. Executive producers are Kevin Loader (WUTHERING HEIGHTS, HYDE PARK ON HUDSON), Sharon Harel and Eve Schoukroun of WestEnd Films- who will also handle international sales- and David Kosse and Sam Lavender for Film4. Celia Duval is Co-Producer. Financial backing has been provided by Film4 and Creative Scotland.