Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening are set to star in a movie adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” which has been added to the Cannes sales slate of Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur’s K5 Intl.
The film will be directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony in 2007 for “Spring Awakening” and was nominated for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” last year. It has been adapted by playwright Stephen Karam, who wrote Pulitzer Prize finalist “Sons of the Prophet.” The producers are Leslie Urdang (“Rabbit Hole”), actor/producer Tom Hulce (“Amadeus”), and Bob Salerno (“21 Grams,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).
Bening, who was Oscar nominated for “The Grifters,” “Being Julia,” “American Beauty” and “The Kids Are All Right,” most recently appeared alongside Al Pacino in “Danny Collins.” Ronan’s latest credits include “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Sundance player “Brooklyn,” which Fox Searchlight picked up in the U.S.
Also in “The Seagull” are Corey Stoll, who appeared in “Midnight in Paris” and was Golden Globe nominated for “House of Cards,” and newcomer Billy Howle, who was a standout in Richard Eyre’s Olivier Award winning production of “Ghosts.” Costumer designer is Ann Roth and production designer is Jane Musky, with Matthew Lloyd taking on d.p. duties. The film is shooting in upstate New York this summer.
The Seagull by Anton Chekhov is a slice-of-life drama set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century. The cast of characters is dissatisfied with their lives. Some desire love. Some desire success. Some desire artistic genius. No one, however, ever seems to attain happiness.
Scholars have often said that Chekhov’s plays are not plot driven. Instead, the plays are character studies designed to create a specific mood.
Some critics view The Seagull as a tragic play about eternally unhappy people. Others see it as a humorous albeit bitter satire, poking fun at human folly.