Academy Award winner Colin Firth will star opposite Emily Blunt in an untitled dark comedy that Focus Features International is introducing to buyers this week.

Hot commercials director Dante Ariola makes his feature directorial debut from a screenplay by Becky Johnston, who produces with Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver and Alisa Tager.

Vertebra Films is the financier and production is set to commence in autumn on the story of two damaged souls fleeing their pasts who meet and break into empty homes to assume the identities of the absent owners. Over the course of their misadventures the pair fall in love.

UTA represents Ariola and Johnston and CAA represents Firth and Blunt. Both agencies co-packaged the film and will jointly represent North American rights. 

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Vertebra and Cross Creek by Eric M Greenfeld at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman.

Ariola is an award winning commercials director who has worked with such brands as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Nike, Lexus and Volkswagen, among others.

“I am thrilled to be working with Dante to help bring his incredible vision to the big screen,” Oliver said. “I’ve admired his work since our days at Propaganda Films, and am confident he will bring his unique aesthetic and sensibility to the project.”