EXCLUSIVE: Parts & Labor-produced English-language drama sold by Protagonist.

Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon are to star in Maria Full of Grace director Joshua Marston’s first English-language feature, which has come together ahead of the AFM where it is likely to be among the hottest indie packages.

New York production outfit Parts & Labor (Beginners, Love is Strange) will produce the as-yet untitled feature, written by Marston and Julian Sheppard, with Protagonist handling international sales.

Weisz will play Alice, the intriguing guest introduced at a dinner party hosted by Tom (Shannon) and his wife, celebrating his birthday.

Tom increasingly believes he knows Alice but by a different name and a different biography, and suspects that she’s not there entirely by coincidence.

The evening spins into a highly-charged reunion between a man in need of making a change in his life and a woman who desperately wants to stop changing.

Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy are producing alongside Lucas Joaquin and Protagonist’s Eddie Vaisman, with the film set to shoot in New York City in early 2015.

Marston’s acclaimed previous two features Maria Full Of Grace and The Forgiveness Of Blood both played in competition in Berlin, where the former won the Alfred Bauer Award and the latter picked up the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Screenplay.

Marston has also directed episodes of high-end TV series such as The Newsroom, The Good Wife and In Treatment.

Weisz, who won the Oscar in 2004 for The Constant Gardener, will next appear in new films by Yorgos Lanthimos, Derek Cianfrance, Paolo Sorrentino and Olivier Assayas.

Shannon is fast becoming one of the most sought after film actors in the US with credits including Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Mud, Ariel Vroman’s The Iceman and Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel; he won an Oscar nomination for Revolutionary Road in 2008.

Marston said: “Like a lot of people, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of wiping the slate clean and re-inventing your life completely. This is a film that explores what the consequences would be of doing that and the consequences of being too afraid to dare it — as told through two amazing actors whom I’m very excited to be working with.”

“Joshua Marston is one of those film-makers I have admired and wanted to work with ever since I saw Maria Full Of Grace at Sundance ten years ago,” said Protagonist Pictures CEO Mike Goodridge.

“The idea that we are involved with him and our friends at Parts & Labor on his first English language film is very exciting,” he continued. “That this project is such a fascinating, intoxicating script about identity and complacency in today’s world is doubly thrilling. It will challenge and divide audiences, and with these two brilliant A-list actors in the lead roles, it will be a talking point movie that will have audiences buzzing.”