Berlin is bringing a series of announcements, and a few have caught our eye. First, briefest, and probably of the greatest interest is Andrew Haigh‘s Lean on Pete, which BFI and Film4 are supporting while The Bureau Sales and Celluloid Dreams possess international distribution rights to. Production commences this summer on a film that, as we reported in May, adapts Willy Vlautin‘s novel and follows “15-year-old Charley as he embarks on a perilous journey in search of his long lost aunt and a possible home. Charley’s quest carries him from the horse-racing track at Portland Meadows, through the sagebrush of the Oregon desert, to the city streets of Denver, his sole companion the stolen racehorse Lean on Pete.”
Casting is underway, and it’s expected that the project will be complete by next spring.
Meanwhile, Variety tell us Volker Schlöndorff will partner Stellan Skarsgård and Nina Hoss for Return to Montauk — a project that, despite its slate of talent, source material, and support from Gaumont, will be English-language. It adapts a recent Max Frisch novel in which a writer’s promotional trip to New York is given a curveball when he encounters “a German expat he had a fling with 17 years earlier” and with whom he then takes a trip to that eponymous end of Long Island.
Volksfilm, Ziegler Film, and Pyramide Productions will support the project; shooting begins in the spring.
Finally, also from Variety, is word that Mathieu Amalric and Peter Mullan are to lead Elsa Amiel‘s P.E.A.R.L. Recently taken under the wing of MK2, the picture concerns “a professional female bodybuilding star Lea Pearl, whose past catches up with her when, just a few hours from the final of the most important competition of her career, her ex-boyfriend (Amalric) shows up with the 6-year-old son she has not seen in years.”
Despite being Amiel’s feature debut — after years of working for Amalric and Bertrand Bonello as a first assistant — MK2’s Juliette Schrameck calls it “an example of the types of daring, auteur-driven indie movies that MK2 Films is now concentrating on.” With shooting not to start until September, before which point an actual British bodybuilder will be cast in the central role, we’ll have to wait a bit before knowing what becomes of P.E.A.R.L. — but the first notices certainly do catch our eye.