Thomas M Wright has cast Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris as the leads in The Unknown Man, a thriller inspired by a real-life Australian sting operation.
See-Saw Films and Anonymous Content will produce the film with funding from Screen Australia, London-based financier, producer and distributor Rocket Science and Stan.
Edgerton’s dance card is rapidly filling up with the announcement that he and Nash Edgerton will direct the TV series Gaslit, which will star Julia Roberts, Sean Penn and Armie Hammer.
Wright’s follow-up to Acute Misfortune, The Unknown Man will follow Edgerton’s Mark and Harris’ Henry, who strike up a friendship after meeting on a plane.
For Henry, who is worn down by a lifetime of physical labour and crime, Mark seems to be his saviour and ally.
What he doesn’t know is that Mark is an undercover cop who is determined to convict him of an unsolved murder committed years prior.
The producers are See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Rachel Gardner, Anonymous Content’s Kerry Roberts and Kim Hodgert (who collaborated with Joel on Boy Erased) and Edgerton.
See-Saw’s in-house sales arm Cross City Films will launch pre-sales at the European Film Market in Berlin. The film’s financing agent CAA Media Finance will co-rep sales in the US. Anousha Zarkesh is the casting director.
Edgerton said: “I am entirely thrilled by the screenplay that Thomas has written and his approach to bringing the story to life. As an actor, I know I will have an incredible experience working with him, and as a producer I am honoured to be partnering with a filmmaker with such a brilliant future.”
Gardner, Canning and Sherman added: “Thomas has written a unique and exceptional script to highlight the incredible story behind how a shocking crime was ultimately solved. Joel has been an ardent supporter since the start and alongside Sean will no doubt bring a level of integrity and gravitas to the fascinating story and relationship between two very different men.”
Harris and Edgerton co-starred in David Michôd’s The King and in David Lowery’s upcoming medieval fantasy The Green Knight.
A media rep for See-Saw Films was unable to confirm whether Transmission Films will distribute the thriller or the release window before the Stan premiere.
Apart from Acute Misfortune Wright has pursued his career as an actor with roles in Barskins, a National Geographic drama series, Sweet Country and WGN America’s Outsiders.
Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail will produce Gaslit, adapted from Slate magazine’s Watergate scandal podcast Slow Burn.
Roberts, who worked with Esmail on Amazon’s Homecoming, will play Martha Mitchell, wife of Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell (Penn).
Nixon’s most trusted adviser and best friend, Mitchell is described as temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his outspoken wife.
NBCUniversal Content Studios will pitch the project to premium broadcasters and streaming platforms.