With his coming-of-age dramedy Me & Earl & the Dying Girl poised to become one of the summer’s biggest indie success stories and a potential dark horse awards contender (à la Whiplash) headed into the fall, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is aiming big for his next project by recruiting two of Hollywood’s most wanted. Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara, co-stars in this fall’s Pan, have signed on to star in the helmer’s small-scale drama Collateral Beauty.
The story centers on a New York City advertising executive who suffers a terrible tragedy and begins to slip into a deep, dark depression from which there may be no escape. It all sounds very intriguing – even though the script hails from Allan Loeb, better known for mainstream comedy drivel like The Switch, The Dilemma, Just Go With It and Here Comes the Boom. Still, Gomez-Rejon evidently saw something he liked, so we’ll give Loeb (whose first script was Things We Lost in the Fire) the benefit of the doubt this time.
Jackman and Mara will appear together later this year in Warner Bros.’ big-budget, Joe Wright-directed Pan, with Jackman playing the dreaded pirate Blackbeard and Mara taking on the role of Tiger Lily. Additionally, the latter has Todd Haynes-directed period romance Carol, with Cate Blanchett, debuting at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend.
With the high-profile duo attached, and Gomez-Rejon still on his victory lap after Me & Earl & the Dying Girl‘s rapturous reception post-Sundance, Collateral Beauty is expected to be a hot property when WME, representing both actors and the director, shops it around to studios and indie financiers.