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Benedict Cumberbatch, Olivia Colman to Star in Searchlight’s ‘War of the Roses’ Remake

Don Arnold/Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Colman have signed on to star in and produce “The Roses,” a reimagining of the 1989 drama “The War of the Roses.” The new film will be directed by Jay Roach (“Bombshell”) and released by Searchlight Pictures.

The two actors are set to play Theo and Ivy, a couple with a seemingly ideal, picture-perfect life that comes crashing down when Theo’s professional career takes a significant downturn. That unleashes a wave of competition and resentment.

Directed by Danny DeVito and starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, “The War of the Roses” was a black comedy that earned a BAFTA and three Golden Globe nominations. Roach will direct the new version of the divorce story from a screenplay by Tony McNamara, who recently earned his second Oscar nomination for the screenplay to Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things.”

Cumberbatch will produce through his SunnyMarch banner alongside Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland, who have been in development on the project since 2017. Colman will produce under South of the River with Ed Sinclair and Tom Carver. Roach and Michelle Graham will also produce with Jonathan R. Adler and Michael Adler of Adler Entertainment Trust as executive producers. That’s part of a first-look deal between them and Searchlight.

“’The Roses’ is a wildly funny, bigger than life, and yet deeply human story,” Searchlight President Matthew Greenfield said in a statement. “With Jay at the helm, and Benedict and Olivia and Tony, we have a dream team bringing it to life.”

“We are thrilled to be working on this very special film with such an incredible team,” added SunnyMarch’s Ackland. “We have been long admirers of Jay’s work and his vision and passion to tell this story is incredibly inspiring.”

South of the River’s Colman and Sinclair said, “We have been cooking this up with our friends at SunnyMarch for some time, and it has been an absolute thrill to see it spring into life under Jay’s passionate and thoughtful guidance. He and Tony are a match made in cinematic comedy heaven.”

“Working with our partners at Searchlight Pictures in this reimagining of the classic movie is a dream come true,” added Adler Entertainment Trust CEO Jonathan R. Adler. “We are delighted to continue the legacy of our father’s brilliant work and introduce ‘The War of the Roses‘ to a new generation.”

Cumberbatch most recently starred in Wes Anderson’s Oscar-winning Netflix short film “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” and appears next in the Netflix psychological thriller miniseries “Eric” in May. He is represented by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA.

Colman most recently appeared in the Paul King musical “Wonka” for Warner Bros. and will appear later this year in the British family film “Paddington in Peru.” She is repped by by CAA and United Agents.

Roach most recently directed the Apple TV+ comedy series “High Desert” starring Patricia Arquette and Brad Garrett. He is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Behr Abramson Levy Johnson.

Paul Hoffman negotiated the overall deal for Searchlight Pictures with Jeff Silberman of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano for Adler Entertainment Trust. Searchlight VP of Production Richard Ruiz and Director of Development & Production Pete Spencer are overseeing the project, reporting to Searchlight Production Heads DanTram Nguyen and Katie Goodson-Thomas.

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