Michael Rymer.

After directing two episodes of Foxtel/FremantleMedia Australia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, Michael Rymer is moving into the director’s chair for Andorra.

The romantic thriller based on Peter Cameron’s novel is scheduled to shoot in Italy and Croatia later this year.

The producers have refinanced the film and are assembling a new cast. Fred Schepisi was attached to direct after Jamie Bialkower’s Melbourne-based Jump Street Films optioned the novel in 2013 but has since moved on to another project.

Bialkower co-wrote the screenplay with Cameron. James Ivory and Natalie Miller are the executive producers.

The protagonist is Alexander Fox, a bookseller who leaves the US after a personal tragedy to begin a new life in the tiny nation of Andorra.

He quickly becomes entangled with the ancient Mrs Reinhardt as well as an Australian couple and Mrs Quay, the matriarch of an Andorran dynasty who seems to recall Fox from long ago. When a woman’s body is found, the local cop becomes convinced that Fox is responsible.

At various stages Clive Owen and Guy Pearce were in the frame to play Fox and Toni Collette, Gillian Anderson, Joanna Lumley, Vanessa Redgrave and Riccardo Scamarcio were earmarked for supporting roles. The new cast is expected to include some of the original names.

Madman Entertainment will distribute in Australia and New Zealand while Metro International is handling international sales and will pitch the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Market.

Metro’s slate includes Saul Dibbs’ Journey’s End, Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s Crooked House and Colin McIvor’s Zoo.

The LA-based Rymer returned to Oz for Picnic after directing episodes of series such as Jessica, Hannibal (which he also exec-produced), Longmire, American Horror Story and The Killing.


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