Laura Dern and Hugh Jackman to Star in Florian Zeller’s ‘The Son’

Director’s follow-up to the Best Picture nominee “The Father” is based on his own stage play

Florian Zeller Laura Dern Hugh Jackman The Son
Ben Watts

Florian Zeller, director of the Best Picture nominee “The Father,” has set his follow-up film based on another of his plays called “The Son,” and Laura Dern and Hugh Jackman are set to star.

Zeller will adapt the screenplay for “The Son” along with his writing partner on “The Father,” Christopher Hampton (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “Atonement”). Zeller will also produce along with Oscar winners Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, Joanna Laurie for See-Saw Films and Christophe Spadone.

Film4 is co-financing “The Son.” Cross City Films and Embankment are also launching international sales, and Cross City Films and CAA Media Finance are co-representing the U.S. rights.

“The Son” follows Jackman as Peter, who has a busy life with his new partner, Emma, as they care for their newborn baby. But his life is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife, Katie, played by Dern, turns up with their teenage son Nicholas. Something is amiss from the first moment we meet Nicholas. He is troubled, distant and angry, playing truant from school for months, and it’s clear both he and his mother need Peter’s help. With Nicholas eager to live with his father for a change, Peter strives to be a better father and tries to understand what Nicholas is going through. But the weight of Nicholas’ condition sets the family on a dangerous course. They must do everything they can to maintain the bonds that hold them together.

Jackman is also an executive producer on the film, along with Simon Gillis for See-Saw Films, Daniel Battsek, Lauren Dark and Ollie Madden for Film4, Philippe Carcassonne for Ciné-@ and Tim Haslam and Hugo Grumbar for Embankment.

“‘The Son’ is a deeply human story which, I believe, connects us all,” Zeller said in a statement. “I hope audiences will be profoundly moved by this family’s journey. Both Hugh and Laura naturally convey great warmth, compassion and vulnerability, inviting our audience to embrace and feel every moment. The story is set in a vibrant and very much alive New York, an important character. The movie should make us call family and friends to tell them that they are wholly loved and not alone.”

“Having been lucky enough to see ‘The Father’ at Sundance 2020, we knew that Florian was a uniquely talented filmmaker,” Canning and Sherman said. “‘The Son’ is a story that needs to be told — a story that rings an alarm. Through examining the human condition and our vulnerabilities, this film will strike a chord with audiences and leave an indelible mark on all who see it.”

“For the audience, ‘The Son’ is visceral, authentic, compelling and cathartic; intimately close to decisions that many families have to make. ‘The Son’ makes us respond, reconnect with those around us, with the gift of understanding and awareness,” Haslam said in a statement.

Zeller’s debut film, “The Father,” is nominated for six Oscars, including for Best Actor Anthony Hopkins and Best Supporting Actress Olivia Colman, as well as Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Production Design. The film also picked up two BAFTAs, including for Hopkins. Sony Pictures Classics released the film on Feb. 26.

Jackman most recently starred in the HBO film “Bad Education” and will next be seen in “Reminiscence,” directed by “Westworld’s” Lisa Joy. Dern won an Oscar last year for “Marriage Story” and also appeared in “Little Women.” She’ll next be seen reprising her role in the “Jurassic Park” franchise with “Jurassic World: Dominion.”

Hugh Jackman is represented by WME and Lou Coulson Associates. Laura Dern is represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. Florian Zeller is represented by CAA. Christopher Hampton is represented by CAA and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.


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