New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion is gearing up to make her first film in ten years.
The director behind The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady, and Bright Star is set to reunite with the star of acclaimed series Top of the Lake, which had eight episodes directed by Campion. As per Variety, Elisabeth Moss will be starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, an adaptation of the 1967 book by American author Thomas Savage. Campion will direct and has also penned the screenplay.
The plot follows wealthy Montana brothers Phil (to be played by Cumberbatch) and George Burbank. They’re quite different: Phil is described as brilliant and cruel, while George is described as having a fastidious and gentle personality. The brothers are joint owners of a successful ranch in Montana, a venture that is threatened when George secretly marries a local widow (Moss), much to Phil’s disapproval. Furious, Phil wages a war to bring her down by using her son as a pawn.
Apart from this being Campion’s first film since her emotional 2008 period drama Bright Star, it will also mark her first film with a male lead character.
“The Power of the Dog is a sublime novel that deserves a life on the big screen. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story, it really haunted me. The themes of masculinity, nostalgia and betrayal are an intoxicating mix,” Campion said in a statement.
“It’s also rare to find a story where the themes, the plot and the characters build tension as they reveal each other and even the end is satisfying and unexpected. It will be the first time I’ve worked with a male lead, which is exciting. Phil is a charismatic and complex character who declares war on his brother’s new wife and her teenage son.”
The Power of the Dog will be heading into pre-production towards the end of the year.
Cumberbatch is, as usual, quite busy. He was recently seen reprising his role as Doctor Strange in box office behemoth Avengers: Endgame and has also signed up for a Doctor Strange sequel. Also on the pipeline for the actor is 1917, a world War War I film from director Sam Mendes; and Good Omens, an Amazon series that will have him playing Satan. The latter premieres on May 31.
Moss can be seen in acclaimed series The Handmaid’s tale, which has its third season premiering in June. On the big screen side of things, she recently had a role in Jordan Peele’s Us and led indie rock drama Her Smell; coming up she has crime-drama The Kitchen (with Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish) and Universal’s The Invisible Man.