Benedict Cumberbatch and Elisabeth Moss will star in Jane Campion’s new film, “The Power of the Dog,” an adaptation of the Thomas Savage novel.

Campion will direct from a script she adapted, with See-Saw Films’ in-house sales arm, Cross City Films, launching sales at this month’s Cannes Film Festival. The movie will go into pre-production at the end of the year.

“‘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. “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 book tells the story of wealthy Montana brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George Burbank. Phil is brilliant and cruel, while George is fastidious and gentle. Together, they are joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley. When George secretly marries local widow Rose (Moss), an angry Phil wages a relentless war to destroy her by using her son Peter as a pawn.

The pic is a See-Saw Films and Big Shell Films/Max Films production in association with Brightstar. It originated with producer Roger Frappier of Max Films, who held the rights to the novel. Frappier offered the property to Campion following a meeting at a recent Cannes Film Festival.

Campion then tapped “Cold War” producer Tanya Seghatchian of Brightstar to partner with her to bring the project to life. She also approached her longtime collaborators, producers Emile Sherman and Iain Canning at See-Saw Films, who executive produced her TV series “Top of the Lake,” to drive the financing and physical production. The project has been developed with BBC Films, who are also backing production. BBC Films’ Rose Garnett, See-Saw film COO Simon Gillis and Brightstar’s John Woodward will serve as executive producers. Continue reading  »