EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Killing Eve star Sandra Oh are set to star in hot Cannes market package Stone Mattress, which Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) will direct from the acclaimed New Yorker short story by The Handmaid’s Tale scribe Margaret Atwood.
The blue-chip revenge thriller, set on a cruise ship in the Arctic, is aiming to shoot in September on location in Greenland and Iceland.
Amazon is already in place for domestic. Producers are Oscar winner John Lesher (Birdman) and Oscar nominee JoAnne Sellar (There Will Be Blood). Studiocanal and Film4 are in final negotiations to join with the former launching sales on the Riviera.
Moore will play Verna, a 60-year-old retired physiotherapist and twice a widow, who embarks on a luxurious cruise into the magnificent and silently thawing Arctic Northwest Passage, populated by a crowd of privileged influencers and wealthy retirees. On the ship, Verna meets the friendly and charming Grace (Oh), and the seemingly ordinary Bob (casting in process), an unaccompanied man in his mid-sixties who inherited a family business. Although he doesn’t have a fraction of Verna’s elegance and wit, Bob tries to seduce her. But he might not be the foolish yet harmless man he initially appears to be, and his presence troubles Verna. As wounds and humiliations from her past resurface, the smooth atmosphere of the cruise will be disturbed by a shocking act.
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Ramsay said of the movie: “With the current repeal in women’s rights across the world, particularly regarding the overturning of Roe v Wade in America, this story, with its themes of stolen motherhood and unaccounted sexual abuse, feels more important than ever.”
Script comes from Ramsay and Tom Townend. Dylan Weathered (The Pale Blue Eye) and Daniel Lupin (West Side Story) are exec producers. Studiocanal will hold onto its territories of France, UK, Germany and Aus/NZ.
Ramsay expanded: “I first read Margaret Atwood when I was a teenager, and her work has gripped me ever since. She is simply one of the most intelligent, prophetic and engaging writers around and Stone Mattress is another perfect illustration of that. I was immediately gripped by the way it framed the deeply buried trauma of a post-menopausal woman – an age group we hear from all too rarely – through the dynamic and multifaceted character of Verna.”
She continued: “From its tongue-in-cheek humour to its moments of icy vengeance and delicate portrayal of an emotional repression specific to the boomer generation, it is a story I’ve wanted to materialize on-screen since my first reading. With the current repeal in women’s rights across the world, particularly regarding the overturning of Roe v Wade in America, this story, with its themes of stolen motherhood and unaccounted sexual abuse, feels more important than ever. The opportunity to shoot in the Arctic, on the frontline of the most urgent threat to our world and on the verge of irredeemable transformation, will lend the story another layer of devastation. Just like the icecaps that melt to reveal ancient histories, Stone Mattress sees years of Verna’s pain and fury thaw before our eyes to expose the raw emotion underneath.”
Ramsay is repped by WME and Josh Varney at 42. Moore is represented by WME. Oh is repped by UTA and Principal Entertainment.
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