Glenn Close and Dermot Mulroney will headline an impressive cast in Rose Troche's The Safety Of Objects, a tale of suburban angst which is one of five pictures being co-financed by the UK's Renaissance Films and investor Paul Allen's Clear Blue Sky Productions. It will be quickly followed by Paul McGuigan's Morality Play, a medieval murder mystery.
Safety, adapted from a collection of short stories by AM Holmes, will also star Timothy Olyphant and Patricia Clarkson (Screendaily, May 11) . It will begin an eight-week shoot later this month in Toronto and New York. Dorothy Berwin's In Film and Christine Vachon's New York-based Killer Films are producing. Jody Patton will executive produce for Clear Blue Sky alongside Stephen Evans and Angus Finney of Renaissance. The budget is understood to be in the region of $7m.
The $14m Morality Play is an ambitious project by the director of Gangster No 1 and Acid House. It shoots from October 16 in Spain, where Renaissance is now building a medieval town in a disused goldmine. The cast is headed by Willem Dafoe, Gina McKee and rising star Paul Bettany, who is much in demand after Gangster and was the subject of a pay-or-play deal. The script is by Mark Mills, who adapted Barry Unsworth's Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name.
Renaissance has assembled a top-notch technical crew for the film including Good Morning Vietnam cinematographer Peter Sova, The Beach and The Piano's production designer Andrew McAlpine and Oscar-winning costume designer Yvonne Blake. Production is by Caroline Wood, with Finney and Evans again taking executive credits.
International sales on both pictures are being handled by Renaissance and both films will get UK distribution by Entertainment Film Distributors as part of a long-term output agreement with Renaissance. Spanish rights to Morality Play remain with co-producer Denise O'dell's Kanzaman.
Clear Blue Sky has a five-picture deal with Renaissance and a separate development and production deal with Killer. Both deals were brokered by John Sloss. The first film partnering Clear Blue Sky and Renaissance is Marleen Gorris' The Luzhin Defence, which premieres at this month's Toronto festival.