Florian Zeller‘s drama The Father had a surprising presence in the 2021 Oscar nominations, and the film also just walked away with a couple BAFTAs across the pond. Now the filmmaker is lining up his follow-up with an adaptation of his stage play The Son, and Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern will be taking lead roles in the family drama.
Variety has word on Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern leading The Son movie cast. Just like The Father, the screenplay will be adapted from the stage play that Florian Zeller wrote with Christopher Hampton, the Oscar-winning writer behind Dangerous Liasons and Atonement. Both will team to adapt the script just as they did for The Father, but despite the relationship implied in the titles, The Son is not a sequel or a prequel. Here’s a synopsis from the play’s production at the West End in London:
Nicolas is going through a difficult phase after his parents’ divorce. He’s listless, skipping school, lying and thinks that moving in with his father and his new family may help. A fresh start. When he doesn’t settle there either, he decides that going back to his mother’s may be the answer. When change feels like the only way to survive, what will he do when the options begin to run out?
Hugh Jackman will play Peter, Nicholas’ father, who is busy settling into a life with his new partner Emma and their baby. Laura Dern will play Nicholas’ mother, Kate, who brings the teen to Peter in a desperate bid for help dealing with his depression. Peter strives to be a better father, searching to help his son with those intimate and instinctive moments of family happiness – to solve, with understanding, what Nicholas is going through. But the weight of Nicholas’ condition sets the family on a dangerous course. They must do everything they can to maintain the bonds that hold them together.
Florian Zeller said in a statement, “Both Hugh and Laura naturally convey great warmth, compassion, and vulnerability…inviting our audience to embrace and feel every moment. The story is set in a vibrant and very much alive New York, an important character. The movie should make us call family and friends to tell them that they are wholly loved and not alone.” While I can do without referring to New York as a character, the story does sound harrowing and the play has been acclaimed for its piercing portrayal of teenage depression.
Zeller also has another play called The Mother that completes a sort of thematic trilogy. It follows the story of a mother whose children have grown up and moved on, leaving her alone and unsure of her place in life, questioning her own existence. If The Son ends up being as successful as The Father, perhaps we’ll get to see The Mother on the big screen too, and then there will be some kind of Criterion Collection box set with all three films.
The Son will be produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (Lion, The King’s Speech) along with Joanna Laurie of See-Saw Films and The Father producers Christophe Spadone and Florian Zeller himself. Film4 is co-financing the production.
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